Liberal Democrats, part of President Obama’s core backers, continue to be unhappy with the president, according to the Gallup tracking poll released Thursday.
The poll shows that support among liberal Democrats has dipped to 79%, the first time it has fallen below 80%, according to Gallup. A week before the midterm elections, Obama stood at 88% with those who called themselves liberals.
The biggest blow to Obama’s liberal standing was his negotiation with Republicans that led to an agreement to extend the Bush-era tax cuts. The package passed the Senate this week and could be approved in the House on Thursday despite opposition from liberal Democrats, who were shut out of the bargaining and objected to some provisions including the estate tax, which they view as too generous to the rich.
But the president’s standing among liberals had been falling even before the compromise on the tax-cut extension.
According to Gallup, the president’s standing with the group averaged 89% since Obama took office. In recent weeks, it has fallen from 88% to 83% in the first weeks of November and then dipped after the tax deal was announced at the beginning of December. Part of the reason for the drop was the perception that Obama was unwilling to fight Republicans on issues that mattered to liberals, such as the shape of the tax-cut package.
Obama's overall approval rating has been relatively stable, ranging between 44% and 46% since the elections. The Gallup findings show that declines are due to losses among Democrats and liberals as Obama pivoted to the right after the large election losses and in preparation for the 2012 elections. The president has defended the agreement as necessary to prevent a tax increase for the middle class.
Results are based on telephone interviews with 3,089 adults conducted as part of Gallup daily tracking from Dec. 6 to 12. The margin of error is plus or minus two percentage points. Also included are about 500 interviews with Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents who describe their political views as liberal, the polling group said.