52 Percent of People Don't Trust Obama Anymore

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 12 2013 4:51 PM

52 Percent of People Don't Trust Obama Anymore

There is, inevitably, a media bias that elevates the polls that show the worst news for a party or president. Okay, still: The trendline to watch in this Quinnipiac poll, which finds Barack Obama's approval rating sinking to George W. Bush's level from 2005 (39 percent), is the "trust" line. Only 44 percent of all voters call the president "honest and trustworthy." Fifty-two percent say he isn't. That's the very first instance of Obama falling underwater on trust.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

But there's more:


- Only 37 percent of white voters call the president trustworthy.

- Only 34 percent of independents agree with that.

- Every age group, even Americans aged 18-29, is distrustful of the president.

- Only 36 percent of Americans approve of how the president "is handling health care." That's the lowest number for him ever, down from 43 percent last month.

- Only 49 percent of Americans say the president "cares about the problems of people like you," the lowest it's ever been.

- By a one point margin, 43-42, more people trust the Republicans in Congress to handle health care. It's the first time they've led on that measure.

The only explanation for any of this? The "if you like your plan, you can keep your plan" controversy, or IYLYPYCKYPgate. (Maybe that acronym won't take off.) What should worry Democrats (not that they need the help) is that the broken promise actually isn't affecting a huge proportion of Americans. Maybe 6 percent of them are losing individual plans; 52 percent of them distrust Obama. 

All of that explains Bill Clinton's interview with, of all things, Ozymandias media*

A sober-minded wonk like Jon Cohn can point out that Clinton's "just fix it" approach would not be the balm it sounds like. "Rhetorically, Clinton’s statement actually isn’t that different from what Obama said in his interview with NBC's Chuck Todd the other night," writes Cohn. "But it wouldn't be easy to do. Attempting to rewrite the grandfather clause, so that it applies to more existing plans, could cause insurers to raise prices in 2014 for 2015."

Right. But people heard Obama tell those other people that their plans wouldn't drop, and the plans dropped. No fixing that.

*Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


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