The President Obama approval rating has been performing well amid the chaos of the 2016 election cycle — something that has been largely seen as a plus for Hillary Clinton since the Democratic frontrunner has aligned herself with the President’s policies as much as possible.
However, Clinton has had difficulty connecting with voters and overcoming her trustworthiness deficiency that has been well-documented in poll after poll — most recently this one from CBS News and the New York Times showing that 67 percent of voters did not find Clinton trustworthy (compared to 62 percent for her opponent, Donald Trump).
The fact that Clinton remains with a slight lead in most reputable polls has been seen as a testament to her own troubles rather than a reflection of her predecessor.
However, in the last few weeks, the Obama approval rating has been trending downward. Gallup reports that for the last quarter — the President’s 30th — the Obama approval rating performed its fifth best overall at 50.9 percent.
However, the current rating as of Sunday (July 24) is 49 percent, down close to two percentage points.
While that may not seem like much — and compared to some Presidents in the past, it’s quite good — it isn’t the President running in 2016. It’s his former Secretary of State, who comes with her own unique set of problems.
Mix that with an electorate that is evenly — and bitterly — divided over the job that President Obama has done, and it’s a pessimistic scenario for Hillary Clinton. Here’s why.
Unenthused voters tend to not show up at the polls.
Voters who like President Obama don’t necessarily like Hillary Clinton as evidenced in that staggering 67 percent untrustworthy figure above. If around half the electorate approve of the President — regardless of which Obama approval rating number you’re using (49 vs. 50.9) — that also means around half don’t approve.
Most of these individuals vehemently oppose him, and they are likely to vote for Donald Trump in November. As for those that do, Clinton has had an uphill time wooing them. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they will go out and actively vote against her, but it does mean a significant enough portion will avoid showing up at the polls — something that will help Trump out greatly on election day.
At the end of the day, it will boil down to voter turnout, and in addition to the email troubles Clinton is already facing which are well-documented here by the New York Times, she now has a new set of email problems with WikiLeaks DNC findings, where it appears that Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz did, in fact, conspire against Bernie Sanders as she was often accused.
That reveal led to the announcement of her resignation this weekend.
— The Patriot (@ThePatriot143) July 25, 2016
While that is ultimately on Wasserman Schultz, it can’t help but spill out onto Clinton’s campaign, which ultimately benefitted and is heading into the convention with a “safe,” Wall Street-friendly VP pick in U.S. Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia.
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) July 25, 2016
Kaine hasn’t been considered the “magic bullet” for getting the Bernie vote to turn out in November, and Trump is now making a major play for some disillusioned Sanders’ supporters.
The DNC email leaks from WikiLeaks will only add fuel to that fire — and again, even if Trump is not successful in his wooing efforts, the bad press may be enough to help him keep those supporters at home.
Where does the Obama approval rating fit into all of this? In a phrase, voter enthusiasm. It’s not about the candidate who represents majority views. It’s about the candidate who can motivate the most people to show up.
The less enamored people feel with the President, the less they’re likely to vote for the candidate who represents his governing model.
But what do you think, readers?
Is the Obama approval rating a sign of concern for Hillary Clinton? Sound off in the comments section below.