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Obama’s Lessened Popularity Is Helping the Market

Posted by Larry Doyle on July 30, 2009 5:12 PM |

What is driving the equity markets higher?

1. an end to the recession?
2. green shoots?
3. better than expected earnings?
4. excess liquidity?
5. all of the above?

How about President Obama’s decline in popularity? In a perverse way, is a lessened approval rating for President Obama, in fact, supporting our markets?

Has the decline been statistically significant? What has caused the decline? Given that we are living in the Sense on Cents designated Uncle Sam Economy, we would be foolhardy to neglect what political polls are saying.

Gallup reports, Obama Approval Slips Three Points in Past Week:

Amidst President Obama’s push in July to revamp the nation’s healthcare system, Gallup finds his average job approval rating registering 56% for the seven-day period ending Sunday, down from 59% the previous week. This three percentage point drop is the largest week-to-week decline seen in Obama’s job approval thus far in his presidency, and punctuates a gradual descent from his 66% rating in early May.


The current week is starting off no better for Obama than the previous one. His job approval score in Gallup Poll Daily tracking, conducted July 25-27, is 54%; this is his lowest individual reading to date. Thirty-seven percent of Americans currently disapprove of the job he is doing and 9% have no opinion.

A 15% decline is certainly statistically significant. That said, presidential popularity numbers – like certain economic statistics – are somewhat seasonally adjusted, meaning that as the honeymoon period passes, the popularity fades along with it. However, I believe there is much more to it than that.

With a lock on both the White House and Congress, the only check on the bullet-proof hold the Democrats have on Washington is a resoundingly strong public opinion. Lest we forget the Tea Parties of April 15th, a growing percentage of our population has expressed real concern about our soaring fiscal deficit.

This concern has solidified and become even more expressive in light of the expected costs affiliated with the Obama health-care proposal. Obama’s popularity has continued to decline as more people became familiar with his health-care plans. As The Wall Street Journal writes, Support Slips for Health Plan:

Support for President Barack Obama’s health-care effort has declined over the past five weeks, particularly among those who already have insurance, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found, amid prolonged debate over costs and quality of care.

In mid-June, respondents were evenly divided when asked whether they thought Mr. Obama’s health plan was a good or bad idea. In the new poll, conducted July 24-27, 42% called it a bad idea while 36% said it was a good idea.

Among those with private insurance, the proportion calling the plan a bad idea rose to 47% from 37%.

Declining popularity of the health-care overhaul reflects rising anxiety over the federal budget deficit and congressional debate over the most contentious aspects of the legislation, including how to pay for it. The poll also shows concern over the role of government in determining personal medical decisions.

I do find it interesting that our presidential polling has become an industry unto itself. I also have no doubt that Obama checks the polls and adjusts his message accordingly.

All this said, I only hope the American public will aggressively challenge all the politicians on both sides of the aisle. Regrettably, our media has neglected this responsibility to a large extent.

Our civic duty calls for nothing else . . . plus it is helping the market!!


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