Much like the rest of the country, the Volunteer State has soured on Hope and Change, but the results in Tennessee are certainly dramatic. A year ago, Barack Obama has approval ratings of 53/27 among adults in a state John McCain carried by 15 points, the most sympathetic survey sample for Democrats. Today, that has changed to 42/51, and Obama has gone underwater on almost all issues as well:
Fifty-one percent of Tennesseans disapprove of Obama’s job performance in the latest poll, up from 46 percent in the fall and 27 percent in spring, according to Dr. Jason Reineke, associate director of the MTSU Poll and an assistant professor of journalism at MTSU.
“Significantly, dissatisfaction with Obama has spread from Republicans to include independents,” Reineke added. “Last fall, 43 percent of independents disapproved of Obama. Today, that figure has risen to 61 percent.”
The overall 51 percent disapproval represents a slim majority at best, considering the poll’s error margin of plus or minus four percentage points. Nonetheless, the poll‘s complementary ﬁndings that 42 percent approve of Obama and 7 percent are undecided indicate beyond reasonable doubt that more Tennesseans disapprove of Obama than approve of him.
It’s even more obvious when looking at Obama’s approval on the issues, expressed in this survey as “confidence”. On the economy, Obama gets 46/52. Fifty-eight percent of independents are worried about their economic future, and among those, 69% disapprove of Obama’s performance. With the 42% less worried about their future, only a bare majority of 51% approves of Obama’s performance — not exactly a ringing endorsement.
On health-care reform, the numbers look even worse. Much of the survey took place before the health-care “summit,” although a few days of surveying took place afterward, and clearly it didn’t help. Confidence in Obama on what had been a signature Democratic issue has dropped to 35/63. Only 22% want the bills in the House and Senate to proceed, with 53% wanting a do-over. Even Tennessee Democrats have had enough. Only 49% want their party leaders to continue, with 48% wanting a do-over. Almost two-thirds of independents (63%) agree with the do-over, with another 18% saying that Congress should drop the issue altogether.
Obama may not care too much about the collapse of his approval ratings in a state he lost by a wide margin anyway, but Tennessee Democrats will be in real trouble in 2010 in both national and state races with these results. That may become a problem in many state elections in a year where the state legislatures that will run redistricting will be chosen.