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Obama Poll Watch -- November, 2013

[ Posted Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013 – 17:23 PST ]

Rock bottom

November was either a very bad month for President Obama in job approval polling, or his worst month ever. Take your choice.

I realize neither one is very palatable for Obama fans, but November was just brutal for the president. The ongoing nature of the Obamacare website problems just overwhelmed everything else this month.

Well, best 'twere done quickly, I suppose, so let's get right to the chart:

Obama Approval -- November 2013

[Click on graph to see larger-scale version.]

November, 2013

Barack Obama charted the worst numbers of his entire time in office in November of 2013. There's just no other way to put it.

Even the photo-op moments of the month weren't exactly cheerful, as the nation marked the milestone anniversaries of a famous speech given to dedicate a graveyard of thousands of bodies from the Civil War, and the last assassination of a United States president. Somber moments of reflection rather than celebrations, in other words.

The only real good news for Obama in November was that the Obamacare website didn't get appreciably worse than it was in October. But it was pretty awful in October, so this really isn't saying all that much. The Republican talking point shifted to lean on the "Obama lied!" theme, which is a tough one for any president to have to face up to. Obama did try, to his credit, to do so. But that sort of thing (no matter how successful) only goes so far.

The only other political stories in the past month were a bit detached from Obama himself, and even more detached from the public's interest. The "nuclear option" story in the Senate was heartily cheered by the progressives who pay attention to such arcana, but most Americans didn't even notice the story at all. The temporary agreement reached with Iran on the nuclear question was big news in the foreign policy department, but again not too many Americans were paying that much attention. If a final deal is reached in six months, it may register a bit more, but for now it's passing under most folks' radar.

But the big story that kept on doing damage to Obama's approval rating was, of course, the Obamacare website's continued woes. For the month, Obama's monthly average job approval rating hit the all-time low of 41.4 percent, and his disapproval average hit the all-time high of 53.9 percent. In fact, Obama hit all-time records across the board -- and not just limited to his second term. His daily approval average hit an all-time low of 40.1 percent, and his daily disapproval average hit 55.6 percent.

Obama's previous lows and highs in these categories were all charted in (or just before) October of 2011, for comparison. In that month, Obama charted 43.4 percent average monthly approval and a daily low of 42.0 percent. He also stayed for two months (including September, 2011) at the monthly average disapproval rate of 51.2, although his worst daily average disapproval had hit 53.2 at the end of August of that year.

 

Overall Trends

My only consolation is that I predicted this month fairly accurately in last month's column. Towards the end, I prophesied:

But Obama's got at least two or three more weeks of "This just in: website still sucks" headlines to get through before then. What that could mean for his polling is pretty obvious -- a downturn which might indeed hit the lowest monthly polling number Obama's ever received (43.4 approval, 51.2 disapproval, in October of 2011). It's going to be a rough month, in other words. If the website finally starts reliably working, then Obama's got a good shot at improving in December, but not before he gets through the rest of this month first.

The overall trends are still pretty bad, at this point. November wasn't just bad for Obama, it was consistently bad. He started the month with a lower daily approval than his October monthly average, and then went downhill from there. The November number doesn't reflect all of this downward momentum, since it is a monthly average. But by the end of the month, Obama's daily approval was scraping 40.0 percent, which is not a very happy place to be in for any politician.

Obama's monthly average dropped 2.8 percentage points from October, and his disapproval rose 3.1 percent. Those are significant numbers, as they represent the fourth-worst month he's ever seen. On the daily scale, Obama's disapproval number hit a high that was a full 4.0 points worse than the month before. The measure of how "underwater" his polling is (disapproval minus approval) hit double digits for the first time ever, ending with a 12.5 point gap.

Even taking Obama's numbers over the course of a year isn't any help. Obama's on track to either have his worst year ever in public opinion polling, or perhaps just tie his previous worst year record. In his first two years in office, Obama only charted three monthly gains per year in his average monthly approval numbers. So far this year, he has only managed two months of improvement.

President Obama can turn this tide around, and he may have already begun to do so. The expected announcement that the website is fixed has been made, and people are flocking back to check out the health insurance exchanges before the December deadline arrives. Most of them seem to be having a fairly good experience, although it is still too early to render any sort of judgment yet. Unemployment numbers should be released at the end of this week, and if they are as good as some are expecting, this could help Obama turn things around with the public. There may (or may not) be another miniature budget showdown in mid-December, and the more intransigent the Republicans look, the better it always is for Obama in the polling. The Senate should begin moving on many of Obama's nominees, which will give his base something to feel good about. And as the website's problems fade, America will start focusing on the Obamacare system itself, rather than just hearing endless "process" stories about a broken website.

All of this could help Obama's public outlook. Congress isn't likely to do much of anything beyond perhaps a limited budget agreement, so the distractions may be few during December. But he does have a long way to go to turn his numbers around. Right after the government shutdown in October, he was regularly seeing approval ratings in the high 40s and even low 50s. Now, he is seeing numbers in the low 40s and high 30s. That's how fast things can change, but anything more than cautious optimism would be unrealistic at this point.

 

[Obama Poll Watch Data:]

Sources And Methodology

ObamaPollWatch.com is an admittedly amateur effort, but we do try to stay professional when it comes to revealing our sources and methodology. All our source data comes from RealClearPolitics.com; specifically from their daily presidential approval ratings "poll of polls" graphic page. We take their daily numbers, log them, and then average each month's data into a single number -- which is then shown on our monthly charts here (a "poll of polls of polls," if you will...). You can read a much-more detailed explanation of our source data and methodology on our "About Obama Poll Watch" page, if you're interested.

Questions or comments? Use the Email Chris page to drop me a private note.

 

Obama's Second Term Statistical Records

Monthly
Highest Monthly Approval -- 1/13 -- 52.7%
Lowest Monthly Approval -- 11/13 -- 41.4%

Highest Monthly Disapproval -- 11/13 -- 53.9%
Lowest Monthly Disapproval -- 1/13 -- 42.6%

Daily
Highest Daily Approval -- 1/31/13 -- 52.5%
Lowest Daily Approval -- 11/28-30/13 -- 40.1%

Highest Daily Disapproval -- 11/28,30/13 -- 55.6%
Lowest Daily Disapproval -- 2/24/13 -- 42.3%

 

Obama's Second Term Raw Monthly Data

[All-time high in bold, all-time low underlined.]

Month -- (Approval / Disapproval / Undecided)
11/13 -- 41.4 / 53.9 / 4.7
10/13 -- 44.2 / 50.8 / 5.0
09/13 -- 43.9 / 50.8 / 5.3
08/13 -- 44.4 / 50.2 / 5.4
07/13 -- 45.3 / 49.2 / 5.5
06/13 -- 46.5 / 48.5 / 5.0
05/13 -- 48.3 / 46.9 / 4.8
04/13 -- 48.6 / 46.8 / 4.6
03/13 -- 48.5 / 46.3 / 5.2
02/13 -- 51.1 / 43.0 / 5.9
01/13 -- 52.7 / 42.6 / 4.7

 

Second Term Column Archives

[Oct 13], Sep 13], [Aug 13], [Jul 13], [Jun 13], [May 13], [Apr 13], [Mar 13], [Feb 13], [Jan 13]

 

First Term Data

To save space, the only data and statistics listed above are from Obama's second term. If you'd like to see the data and stats from Obama's first term, including a list of links to the full archives of the Obama Poll Watch column for the first term, we've set up an Obama Poll Watch First Term Data page, for those still interested.

 

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

21 Comments on “Obama Poll Watch -- November, 2013”

  1. [1] 
    Paula wrote:

    Chris: I think Obama's numbers will start to go up as they roll out their ACA campaign. The website appears to be doing better; the enrollees will increase in number, etc. The repubs look like they're going to forego another shutdown, at least over Christmas. No worries. (!)

  2. [2] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Paula -

    December's shaping up to be a bit better than November, but that's about as far as I'll go at this point...

    :-)

    -CW

  3. [3] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    OK, I just answered all of Monday's comments (50+!), so go back and check it out, if interested.

    :-)

    -CW

  4. [4] 
    Michale wrote:

    Ahhhh My favorite commentary of the month!! :D

    About the only good news for Obama is that he hasn't dropped below 40% as I predicted he......

    Deee... Deee... Daaaa.... Daaaa.... Deeee... Daaaa.... Deeee.....Daaaa.....

    THIS JUST IN....

    Looks like my dead on ballz accurate streak continues...

    OBAMA APPROVAL DROPS BELOW 40%
    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/president_obama_job_approval-1044.html

    39.8% to be exact...

    It's tough being correct so often.... :D

    Here's another prediction.. No one is going to want to address the fact that Obama is now entering THE BUSH ZONE

    :D

    Michale

  5. [5] 
    Michale wrote:

    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/12/03/stunning-hypocrisy-from-democrats-in-wake-obamacare-broken-promises/

    THAT is exactly why Obama's numbers are tanking..

    You can attack the source all you want..

    But the simple fact is, it's the political reality in the here and now..

    Ya'all (and Democrats) ignore it at yer own peril...

    Michale

  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    But, since we're talking poll numbers...

    Let's talk poll numbers..

    In Ohio, 57% say Obama is not trustworthy.. Only 35% of Ohioans approve of obamacare. Remember that Ohio is a bellwether state that gave Obama 51% of the vote in the last POTUS election. As Ohio goes, so goes the country...

    A Quinnipiac poll, right before Turkey Day, gave Obama a 34% approval rating. His lowest rating ever in that poll... 61% disapprove of Obama's job..

    In a Colorado poll last month, a 36% approval rating. Lowest in THAT poll as well..

    No matter how ya'all wanna slice it up, Obama's numbers are going down...

    ANOTHER prediction I made that is coming to fruition...

    Michale

  7. [7] 
    TheStig wrote:

    CW.com readers who have not done so should take a look at the retrospective presidential data at Obamapollwatch.com.

    There have been 9 presidents since Eisenhower.

    Five of them have been reelected to a second term. Nixon resigned under threat of impeachment with plunging popularity. Clinton survived impeachment with a strong upward trend in popularity throughout his 2nd term. Dubya trended down, down, down throughout his 2nd term. Reagan's charm index plummeted midway through his 2nd term, but he regained all the lost ground by the time he retired.

    The volatility around the trend line doesn't seem to have changed much in the post Eisenhower presidencies. Reading Obama's fate from the current tea leaves seems dubious. Patience Grasshoppers. Oh, and nice work CW!!!

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    Reading Obama's fate from the current tea leaves seems dubious.

    Yea...

    That's just what the Right said when Bush started his downward slide.. :D

    I understand WHY you are saying what you are saying...

    But it seems you are basing it on nothing more than what you WANT to happen, rather than what the facts say...

    Barring an unknown event, there is nothing in Obama's future that would indicate his numbers will turn around..

    Conversely, there are MANY incidents coming that will likely increase the downward momentum...

    Michale

  9. [9] 
    TheStig wrote:

    M (8)

    I'm basing it on the historical record as compiled by CW. Presidential popularity polls are volatile - there is a lot of variation around the apparent trend line. There are only 4 modern precedents for Obama...25% of 'em lead a charmed life (Clinton)...25% recover from dropping off a popularity cliff (Reagan)...50% crash (Nixon and Bush) 50% of the crashes burn (Nixon). As we say in the statistical trade, them's the effin numbers. Past (aggregated) popularity polls have little power to predict future popularity trends. It's basically a dead end, the polls are snapshots of a complicated movie. There is value in documenting this, so CW has NOT been wasting his valuable time.

    Your last paragraph is not a converse of the prior one

    "Barring an unknown event, there is nothing in Obama's future that would indicate his numbers will turn around.."

    ...yeah, but why there is nothing in Obama's future to indicate his numbers won't turn around?

    "Conversely, there are MANY incidents coming that will likely increase the downward momentum...

    ... plus MANY incidents coming that will likely decrease downward momentuum.

    The above is just a form of special pleading. A heads I win, tails you lose that doesn't survive inspection.

    While I don't think popularity polls have much predictive power, some fundamentals suggest AHC has a reasonably good chance of success.

    First, the law has little chance of being repealed during Obama's term. The law is durable.

    Second, the website is not the law, it's just a modern efficiency for implementing the law. It wasn't ready for general release, but Obama has time to fix it because the law is durable. He can buy the resources needed to fix it. He can buy time by selectively relaxing deadlines.

    Third, the Insurance companies and big Health providers basically have a lot to gain from the law. Government subsidy money will flow into for profit sectors that wasn't there before.

    Fourth, while there are both winners in the AHC game, the winners are many and have a lot to gain, the losers are few and have relatively little to lose long term. Yeah, some people lost a policy, some people liked the policy they lost. Guess what. This group lost policies all the time. The market was volatile before Obama Care shook it up. The afflicted will buy new policies of roughly equal value, but with less opportunity to assume very high risk at lower cost. The under insured are a larger group, and they stand to gain a lot. This will be the bigger voting block.

    Fifth, Social Security and Medicare precedents.

    I could go on, but let me just say I give AHC a 75% chance of success. That's my Bayesian probability of belief, not a formal analysis of underlying probability distributions, which I strongly expect are unknowable.

    Final thought. You can make a barn door fly with enough power, big enough control surfaces and a skilled pilot with good reflexes. Let's see how good Obama's reflexes are.

  10. [10] 
    Michale wrote:

    ...yeah, but why there is nothing in Obama's future to indicate his numbers won't turn around?

    Yes there is..

    .... plus MANY incidents coming that will likely decrease downward momentuum.

    For example....???

    First, the law has little chance of being repealed during Obama's term. The law is durable.

    I'll concede the first part. The latter lacks evidence..

    Second, the website is not the law, it's just a modern efficiency for implementing the law.

    Semantics..

    For all intents and purposes, the website IS the law..

    If the website fails, the law does to..

    "A difference which makes no difference IS no difference."
    -Spock

    Third, the Insurance companies and big Health providers basically have a lot to gain from the law. Government subsidy money will flow into for profit sectors that wasn't there before.

    They do if the law works as planned..

    Apparently, that possibility (website/law working as planned) is by NO means a forgone conclusion....

    Only 22% of young people (a VITAL demographic) say they will sign up for obamacare..

    obamacare needs at LEAST 40% to be viable...

    Fourth, while there are both winners in the AHC game, the winners are many and have a lot to gain, the losers are few and have relatively little to lose long term.

    Unless you happen to be one of the losers..

    "Hay!! That thing killed a civilian!!!"
    "We project an 11% collateral damage rate. Acceptable."
    "Yea... Unless you happen to be part of that 11%!!"

    -Blue Thunder

    Fifth, Social Security and Medicare precedents.

    Now HERE you are on somewhat more solid ground..

    However, I submit that SS and Medicare were penny ante stuff compared to what obamacare is trying to do..

    Further, what worked 50-60-80 years ago does not necessarily mean it will work in the here and now...

    Finally, SS and Medicare were passed with complete bi-partisan support where BOTH Partys had a stake in making it work.. One Party did not have a vested interest in making sure either program failed...

    obamacare was passed solely and completely by Democrats.. And, to further their agenda, Republicans have a vested interest and incentive to insure that obamacare fails..

    Ergo, while your comparison is somewhat close, it does not entitle you to a cigar...

    Final thought. You can make a barn door fly with enough power, big enough control surfaces and a skilled pilot with good reflexes. Let's see how good Obama's reflexes are.

    Not good enough to pull out of this nosedive..

    Time will tell... But, once again, I have to point to my recent track record..

    It's been stellar... :D

    Michale

  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/interactive/2013/12/04/harvard-youth-poll-on-obama/

    That's why obamacare is destined to fail..

    Obama has lost the ONE demographic that fueled his ascension...

    People can only be lied to so much before they start getting pissed off...

    Michale

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    Third, the Insurance companies and big Health providers basically have a lot to gain from the law. Government subsidy money will flow into for profit sectors that wasn't there before.

    I am further constrained to point out that if Obama and the Left continue to unfairly vilify the Insurance companies, they might decide that it ain't worth it..

    We are already seeing this happen with their "Thanks but no thanks" response to Obama's offer to "look the other way" and let the Insurance Companies break the law...

    Michale

  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:

    Second, the website is not the law, it's just a modern efficiency for implementing the law.

    When the website was a train wreck, were Democrats distancing themselves from the website??

    No..

    They were distancing themselves from obamacare...

    obamacare IS the website, for all intents and purposes...

    Michale

  14. [14] 
    TheStig wrote:

    M

    (10)

    "For all intents and purposes, the website IS the law.."

    Maybe I'm wrong but I think the above statement is likely to strike most readers as Cocoa for Cuckoo Poops. I mean, if Obama launches a mirror site created by an independent team of 20 something gaming geeks (maybe not such a bad idea), do we, for all intents and purposes, have 2 sets of Affordable Health Care Laws?

    "obamacare needs at LEAST 40% to be viable.."

    Forty% strikes me as a suspiciously round threshold, but yes, the plan needs participation by a large fraction of healthy young uns to be fiscally viable. Two points:

    Where is it written that the program has to operate in the black from day one? How many large start ups do that?

    Signup is not voluntary. There are tax penalties if you don't have an exemption. Penalties start small in the first year, and gradually get about expensive as just buying the goddamn insurance by year 3. The fact that this penalty ramps up is evidence the writers of the law didn't expect full participation immediately. They are nudging people in, with more elbows thrown in to pick up the reluctant as time marches on.

    (11) I believe the Haavaad poll. Obama has irked an important part of his constituency...but wait, he isn't running for anything. Has the GOP picked them up? DEMS have some work to do, but I don't think it will be that much of a lift. Marketing. Politicians know marketing.

    In point of fact, a small percentage of the youth demographic is squeezed by the AHCA, and deserves relief...single, self employed individuals (no company health care subsidy) without dependents making over (or close to) $40K, but not the really big bucks) residing in high cost of living communities. Health insurance will take a big bite out of their disposable income. DEMS can start the healing by working on that inequity, but this is going to be a very small part of the youth demographic.

    12) There don't seem to be shortages of companies offering up AHCA Gold, Silver Bronze plans at with lower than expected premiums. What's gone is the high risk plans, with high deductibles, low caps and plenty of exclusions. The latter was fully intended by the new regulations.

    Anyway, not a done deal, but not a train wreck. More like a hefty delay of schedule.

  15. [15] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    TheStig [7] -

    Thanks for the kind words. And thanks for plugging the "Obama Poll Watch" site's charts -- I have to manually update them every month, so I'm glad someone is getting some use out of them!

    :-)

    -CW

  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    Maybe I'm wrong but I think the above statement is likely to strike most readers as Cocoa for Cuckoo Poops.

    That's because for most readers, it's "Obama Uber Alles"... :D

    Where is it written that the program has to operate in the black from day one? How many large start ups do that?

    If you want to compare obamacare to a normal private market "startup" then I am game..

    A private market startup that had the type of roll out that obamacare had would have already closed up shop..

    Anyway, not a done deal, but not a train wreck. More like a hefty delay of schedule.

    I know you can't concede it's a train wreck. Your ideology won't let you..

    But what you ignore is the pending security issues. The millions and millions more cancellations. And a whole host of other problems that aren't even indicated you.

    Don't feel bad. The rest of Weigantia is right along with you..

    http://publicintellectual.files.wordpress.com/2007/07/ostrich.jpg

    No one wants to talk about the bad news..

    "Gee!! I wonder why that is!!!"
    -Kevin Spacey, THE NEGOTIATOR

    I guess that I am just the Weigantian Cassandra... :D

    But here's the thing. In the last few months, my prediction record has been perfect...

    Michale

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    <I.(11) I believe the Haavaad poll. Obama has irked an important part of his constituency...but wait, he isn't running for anything.

    The hell he ain't..

    He is running for his legacy...

    Marketing. Politicians know marketing

    At least we agree on one thing.

    It IS marketing.. It's ALL marketing..

    As opposed to a program that is actually GOOD for Americans..

    DEMS can start the healing by working on that inequity, but this is going to be a very small part of the youth demographic.

    Assumes facts not in evidence...

    But you are correct. Dems SHOULD start working on that inequity...

    But they won't.. Because it means less $$$$ for their corporate cronies...

    Remember.. A politician, ANY politician (Dem or GOP) cares about their own power and position first..

    The needs of their constituents come a very very distant second. Or, more often, an even MORE distant third...

    "Warriors for the Middle Class" my ass....

    Michale

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    But what you ignore is the pending security issues. The millions and millions more cancellations. And a whole host of other problems that aren't even indicated you.

    WOW...

    THERE's tortured prose....

    But what you ignore are the pending security issues. The millions and millions more cancellations. And a whole host of other problems that aren't even indicated yet.

    My bust....

    Michale

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    Maybe I'm wrong but I think the above statement is likely to strike most readers as Cocoa for Cuckoo Poops. I mean, if Obama launches a mirror site created by an independent team of 20 something gaming geeks (maybe not such a bad idea), do we, for all intents and purposes, have 2 sets of Affordable Health Care Laws?

    When the website was a train wreck, did vulnerable Democrats distance themselves from the website??

    No..

    They distanced themselves from obamacare..

    Ergo, obamacare = website

    "Simple logic"
    -Admiral James T Kirk, STAR TREK V: The Undiscovered Country

    :D

    Michale

  20. [20] 
    TheStig wrote:

    CW - (15) You're most welcome!

    I regret it took me so long to find the archives. They really put Obama's numbers in perspective and clear up some misconceptions I've been carrying about in my mental baggage.

    Clinton's numbers are a revelation. Reagan is said to be the Teflon President. Not so, Clinton is the Teflon King. Teflon II! Or whatever Teflon they sell these day (its very good). Nothing stuck to him. Not Lewinsky, not Impeachment. He begins his second term more popular than when he began his first, and ends his second more popular still! That is political genius.

    Stuff did stick to Reagan - recession in term 1, Iran/Contra in II. But, he always washed the muck away. He's more like the Orbit Gum President...."dirty mouth - clean it up (insert sparkle effect on front tooth). Again, political genius, but of a different sort. Bonus points for the fact that he is said to have been well into early stage dementia by his second term. Then again, dementia COULD actually be an asset politics, where more mistakes are probably made by over thinking than by not thinking, or not at least not saying, much at all.

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:

    Not so, Clinton is the Teflon King. Teflon II! Or whatever Teflon they sell these day (its very good). Nothing stuck to him. Not Lewinsky, not Impeachment. He begins his second term more popular than when he began his first, and ends his second more popular still! That is political genius.

    Gotta agree with that.

    The guy is a feminists' worst monster and yet, Lefty women flock to him like he is Christ, Einstein and Bon Jovi all rolled into one..

    That's why I find the Left's accusations of the Right's "War on Women" so hilarious...

    The Party Of Weiner, Spitzer and Clinton is going to point at the RIGHT's disrespecting of women??

    Seriously!!????

    Michale
    110

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