What country has changed for the worse

56 Percent Say Obama Changed Country for Worse

An overwhelming number of likely voters say President Obama has changed America; most say for the worse. He still leads Romney by 3 points.

James Joyner · Monday, July 9, 2012 · 41 comments

An overwhelming number of likely voters say President Obama has changed America–a majority say for the worse.

The Hill (“Hill Poll: Majority believe Obama has changed country for worse“):

Two-thirds of likely voters say President Obama has kept his 2008 campaign promise to change America — but it’s changed for the worse, according to a sizable majority.

A new poll for The Hill found 56 percent of likely voters believe Obama’s first term has transformed the nation in a negative way, compared to 35 percent who believe the country has changed for the better under his leadership.

[…]

It found 68 percent of likely voters — regardless of whether they approve or disapprove of Obama — believe the president has substantially transformed the country since his 2009 inauguration.

The feeling that Obama has changed the country for the worse is strongest among Republicans, at 91 percent, compared to 71 percent of Democrats who support Obama’s brand of change.

Strikingly, 1-in-5 Democrats say they feel Obama has changed the United States for the worse.

While the top-line result is indeed interesting, it’s not clear that it means much. As with the economic reports that keep trickling out, this is all presumably baked into people’s overall view of Obama and whether to retain him in office.

Indeed, my initial headline and lede would have been something along the lines of “68 percent think Obama is ruining the country but a majority nonetheless want to re-elect him.” Oddly, though,  the crosstabs [PDF] seem to indicate that they didn’t bother asking that rather obvious question.

I say “oddly” because Obama has a slight lead over Romney in every poll in the RealClearPolitics index except Rasmussen’s, which most of us discount because it consistently skews Republican.  As of this morning, RCP has it 47.0 to 44.4 for Obama, with a whopping 221 to 181 lead in the Electoral College–and a 332 to 206 blowout if you throw out toss-ups and just give the state to the candidate currently leaning in the poll of polls.

That’s really striking. People overwhelmingly think Obama is doing a bad job and yet they still prefer him to the presumptive Republican nominee.  Part of that presumably comes from this:

Compared to the sentiment about Obama’s impact, fewer people see presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney as a candidate who will change the country dramatically if elected.

Still, 50 percent of people think Romney will bring a “significant” level of change — a finding that may reflect the desire among anti-Obama voters for a reversal of the president’s policies.

So, while they think Obama is screwing up the country, they have little confidence Romney will do any better.

Still, even that’s odd. Typically, if the incumbent is doing a bad job, the sentiment is “throw the bum out.” In this case, though, it seems to be “Maybe a bad job is the best we can hope for” coupled with “and he’s really a swell guy.”

CORRECTION: The original headline and lede were wrong and have been corrected. I got thrown off track by the “two-thirds” line in The Hill’s lede and didn’t read the numbers themselves closely.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, US Politics