Astute observers like Mickey Kaus wonder if there’s really a floor under the president’s approval level.
First, as is often said, the only poll that counts is on the first Tuesday in November. My take: voters look on the president as they look on airline pilots when the jetliner is in the air — it is psychologically untenable to think the pilot can’t fly the plane.
But, when it’s safe to make a change, then they will consider it. That’s what I thought in 1980, and I was a liberal then. People decided, hey, Carter isn’t cutting it, this guy might not be so bad.
Nevertheless, for Obama, look at our verbatim responses in the Civitas Poll. The people with him are with him. They say he’s a good man, or he needs another term, or it wasn’t his fault, or the problems were big, he cares about people, etc. These reasons, generally, cannot be refuted. We can’t peer into a different universe to see if he could have done them better, etc. And it’s not against the laws of logic to think he might do better in a second term, or a tenth, or whatever.
Their reasons for support are impervious to logic or experience or even emotion. They’re for him; they’re for him. His performance as president is rather beside the point.
That’s what we mean by a floor. That doesn’t mean it can’t be bent. Or that the 10 percent in the middle won’t break for Romney. But from our vantage point, his supporters are with him no matter what. Conservatives should not take false comfort in thinking he will lose that base.