A CNN poll released this week asked Americans whether they plan to vote for or against President Obama in 2012. The options were "probably vote for," "probably not vote for," "definitely vote for," and "definitely not vote for." The most popular answer was "definitely not vote for" – chosen by 35 percent of respondents. Only 25 percent say they'll "definitely vote for" the president. 51 percent predict he will lose.
A Gallup poll also released this week might help explain why. Gallup asked respondents whether they approve or disapprove of President Obama's performance in eight areas: health care, the economy, foreign affairs, dealing with Afghanistan, dealing with Egypt, taxes, energy policy, and the federal budget deficit. Of all of these areas, more than half of all Americans approve of President Obama's performance on ... none of them. In all eight areas, fewer than 50 percent approve of his performance.
The same is true among independents. Moreover, Obama's strongest rating among independents is on dealing with Afghanistan (47 percent approve), while his weakest are on health care, the deficit, taxes, and the economy (all between 19 and 35 percent). Which seem more likely to be pivotal issues in 2012?
Meanwhile, when respondents in the CNN poll were asked which potential Republican candidate they'd most likely support, no potential candidate got even a quarter of the overall GOP tally, while 11 different candidates got at least 1 percent apiece. And that list of 11 doesn't even include such well-liked and respected potential candidates as Paul Ryan and Chris Christie, either of whose entry would dramatically change the complexion of the race.
While a tremendous amount will depend on the strength of the Republican nominee, this much is evident: President Obama is very vulnerable. Perhaps Americans aren't that inclined to reelect a president who they don't think handles any issue well.