President Barack Obama maintained his personal popularity among Californians, but his performance rating took a big hit in the latest Field Poll (pdf).
The president’s popularity held steady at 57% since the last time the question was asked in February, with 35% expressing a negative impression. But approval by California registered voters of his performance dropped 10 percentage points, from 62% to 52%. The overwhelming source of that drop was disenchantment by his own supporters.
Republicans already hate him—17% performance approval, down 3 points—but Democrats, women, Latinos, younger people and college graduates do not and they all registered big drops in support.
Democrats went from an 88% approval rating to 74%. Women dropped 15 points, from 68% to 53%; the 18-39 crowd fell 14 points, from 71% to 57%; and young college grads declined by double-digits. Latinos were off 7 points, from 76% to 69%.
Obama’s performance has not been this harshly judged since he bombed in the first nationally televised debate with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2011. Field Poll director Mark DiCamillo told the San Jose Mercuy News that, based on the time period involved, Obama’s decline could be blamed on the uproar over government spying. “You could surmise that it does have to do with the surveillance and the authorization of this kind of unprecedented listening to of phone conversations and emails and that kind of thing,” he said.
But since the poll only asked two simple questions—“Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as President?” and “Generally speaking, do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Barack Obama, President?—that conclusion presumes there weren’t a plethora of reasons for the public to be in a disapproving mood.
The poll was conducted among 846 registered voters between June 26 and July 21, and contrasted with one in February. During the time in between, the administration has been under scrutiny for its role in Mideast unrest, the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, a dysfunctional Congress, state and federal abortion battles, growing income inequality, racial unrest and stagnation on immigration legislation, to name just a few issues that could have affected the perception of his performance.