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Whatever Gibbs said, liberals still like Obama

With the controversy still simmering over Robert Gibbs' slam on the "professional left," the Dem firm Public Policy Polling offers a reality check on what liberals think of Obama. They overwhelmingly approve:

On the national poll we'll release this week 85% of liberals approve of the job Obama is doing to 12% disapproving. 88% support his health care plan looking back with only 7% opposed.

Not only are those numbers good, but they're steady. Obama's favor with liberals hasn't been on the decline. In May his approval with liberals was 87/10. In February it was 81/15. In November it was 87/4. Even as his ratings have declined overall he's stayed in that sort of mid-80s range with liberal voters.

The volume of the voices of liberals who don't like Obama is much greater than the volume of their numbers, which probably means Robert Gibbs shouldn't let the select few get him so irritated.

This bears out what other polls have found. It suggests that Gibbs was right when he said that rank and file liberals still like Obama, and some will point to this as proof that Obama's liberal critics don't speak for the left and just get attention because they have big megaphones.

But there may be another conclusion to be drawn here. If criticism of the White House from the left isn't meaningfully depressing Obama's support among liberals, than what's the harm? Seems to me that the liberal rank and file are capable of listening to left-leaning opinionmakers taking issue with various aspects of the Obama presidency without concluding that they should stop supporting the president entirely.

In other words, liberal voters appear capable of keeping two ideas in their heads at the same time. First, Obama does not always live up to their expectations, whether or not he should bear the blame for this unfortunate reality. And second, this isn't grounds to abandon him completely.

If anything, this demonstrates that lefty critics should keep it up. They can keep pressuring the White House and Dems to try to expand the realm of what's politically possible, and keep trying to hold the president accountable to his promises and to the expectations he has created for his own leadership. After all, the President himself has told us he wants us to keep doing that. And if liberals aren't turning on him in advance of the midterms, what's the downside?

UPDATE, 1:38 p.m.: One other thing: Given that Obama is still polling extremely well among liberals in multiple polls, it's unclear why the White House overreacts to liberal criticism.

By Greg Sargent  |  August 10, 2010; 1:05 PM ET
Categories:  Political media  
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"They can keep pressuring the White House and Dems to try to expand the realm of what's politically possible"

Hey Greg, are you copying my posts? ;-)

"progressives have to push the envelope of what is doable and support people that are actually trying to push the envelope,"

IIf you are I am flattered...;-)

Posted by: srw3 | August 10, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Interesting. Sounds about right if the question is a flat "approve" or "disapprove."

The only caveat in my mind is that, even if we're talking about those of us progressives who have passionate differences with the president on some things, are they going to say they "disapprove" of his job performance? I certainly wouldn't. That he's done very good things is the one area of consensus, right?

That's why I've never put much stock in this metric before. Am I wrong?

Posted by: michael_conrad | August 10, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Liberals don't win elections indies do and they have had it with Obama.

Posted by: obrier2 | August 10, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

"On the national poll we'll release this week 85% of liberals approve of the job Obama is doing to 12% disapproving. 88% support his health care plan looking back with only 7% opposed."

Based on what? What's the sample size? Demographics? Margin of error? How many liberals were surveyed?

Really, Greg, this doesn't qualify as "reality." Let's see the hard numbers and reassess whether it's that good.

Posted by: cab91 | August 10, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

srw, you're putting it very well, kudos to you on that. :)

and Michael, I think the point here, relating to what you're saying, is that liberals are capable of having criticisms of certain aspects of his performance without abandoning him...two ideas in their heads at once!

Posted by: Greg Sargent | August 10, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

cab91, this poll bears out what others have found, otherwise I'd agree with you

Posted by: Greg Sargent | August 10, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Couldn't have said it better myself, Greg. These comments from the White House are absolutely baffling. Obama himself has asked us to keep his feet to the fire. Does Gibbs expect us to do that by nodding approvingly every time Obama caves to the right?

As much as I am disappointed and frustrated with Obama, I would probably respond "approve" if some pollster asked my opinion about his job performance because I know that disapproval is always spun by the media and Republicans as coming from the right. The left doesn't exist for these people until one of these White House/Progressive skirmishes arises.

Posted by: taritac | August 10, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

From commenter NealB at Steve Benen's. Captures my feelings so well that I am going to quote rather than restate.

"Progressive left ideas, ideas that Obama campaigned on, have time and again been eliminated from debate because Obama and his minions refused to let them be heard. A larger stimulus bill, public option, real reform of the finance industry, were never considered because Obama outright prevented their consideration. He failed to administer HAMP and thousands have unnecessarily lost their homes because of it. Indefinite detention of so-called terrorists continues. The wars in the middle-east continue at the same cost in lives and treasure as under Bush. Unemployment was supposed to top out at 8.5% a year ago but a year later the rate is stuck officially at 9.5% for over six months with the real rate (including the hundreds of thousands of new workers entering the work force every month that have never been employed and the addition 1.5 million or so that have given up looking) is likely closer to 11%; yet month after month the Obama White House refuses to identify unemployment as the national economic emergency it has been for a year and a half now.

Maybe it's true and Obama did the best he could do. Maybe he just didn't have it in him to stand up to the banksters and Republicans, to shame them effectively, and battle them into submission on the progressive position he campaigned for. Even if that's so, it's not up to those that disagree with his results to defend him; the opposite. To most of us it just looks like he didn't bother to try."

Posted by: msmollyg | August 10, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Another thing, the White House is missing opportunities to explain and progress its agenda by refusing to engage more often and more positively with progressive media sources. Progressives are generally open to discussing all facets of issues and understand political realities probably more than any other group in American politics. Exploring his contradictory positions more fully I imagine will only help him on both sides of the aisle.

Posted by: taritac | August 10, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Why bash liberals? Maybe because that helps you with a certain portion of the electorate. Liberals alone (or conservatives alone) don't get you elected. Bash liberals occasionally, to a certain demographic that looks good. Shows that you are not a slave to your base and can say no to it. This looks good to supposed independants.

Also, let's not forget he was talking to the Hill. 99% of Americans will never read the Hill or ever hear anything quoted in The Hill. Mountain here, molehill in the real world.

Posted by: zattarra | August 10, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Again, nothing in that Gibbs article said to me that the WH was asking for all criticism to cease. They were asking for unreasonable, hyperbolic commentary to cease (i.e. Ed Shultz telling all of Netroots that they should stay home in November b/c Obama doesn't appreciate them - as evidenced by Obama not coming on his show, apparently). That's the type of unhelpful commentary Gibbs was speaking out against - not the people who are valiantly holding them accountable in a reasonable way (like THIS BLOG!)

Posted by: OKeefePup | August 10, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Oh, so the Obama Administration is feeling so popular that they have no problem frying 12% of their likely voters? That's smart. And since I can pay my bills I guess I'll go home and throw 12% of my income into my fireplace, watch it burn, and congratulate myself as it being the most savvy thing I've ever done.

That reminds me, didn't Nader "spoil the election" in 2000 with less than 5% of the vote? Yeah, that was a valuable lesson learned.

Posted by: junket | August 10, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse


The Era of Cheap Productivity is OVER.

Time for businesses to start HIRING again:

The Labor Department reported Tuesday that worker productivity fell 0.9% in the second quarter. That's the first decline in eighteen months and may be a sign that employees have finally gotten to the point where they are simply stretched too thin.


"What's happened is a lot of U.S. companies have reached the limit of how much they can slash their workforce and work existing employees to the bone," said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist with IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Mass. "At some point, even weak spending growth will require businesses to hire more people to meet the demand."


"The slowdown in productivity may be a hint that instead of increasing the work week and bringing in people for more overtime, now may be the time to increase hiring. Working people longer hours may be hindering productivity," said Michael Strauss, chief economist with Commonfund, a money management firm based in Wilton, Conn.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 10, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Easy answer to your question Greg. Because the electorate isnt made up of just liberals! And unfortunately the 75+% of liberals who do still support the President dont get invited on TVor Radio or to write op eds near as much as the slim minority who dont. Its ridiculous to try to minimize their effect with their megaphones also because if the argument can be made that they should keep it up because it has little effect, the same argument that they should stop because it has little to no effect would also hold true. But whether they will take responsibility or not we know they DO make a difference, just not a positive one. Especially with independents who figure if "both sides" hate him he really must suck.

I guess they could look up polling on liberals to see its not true, but some how I doubt average voters go out of their way to do that. And its funny cuz the truth is we all know someintheprofesdional left who fit pretty nicely into the description Gibbs made. But when those folks are your friends colleagues etc I imagine its impolite to say so.

Posted by: sgwhiteinfla | August 10, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

OkeefePup, thanks for that. That is certainly what Gibbs seemed to say in his walkback.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | August 10, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Fair points, but approval ratings are meaningless. The only thing that matters is who comes to the polls, and voter enthusiasm is most dismal amongst liberals and young people. Therefore, Obama has a hell of a problem on his hands with liberals and young people. There are more liberals who aren't planning to get out and vote for D's who are gettable for Obama than there are independents. Eventually, Obama will realize that American elections are about base turnout.

Posted by: michaelh81 | August 10, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Approximatley 85% of the liberal base approves of Obama's policies according to this article. Not a very large percentage when only 20% of Americans identify themselves as liberal.

Posted by: curious30 | August 10, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse


I agree with you that most Americans will never read the Hill article & will never even hear a word about this Gibbs dust-up. But that begs the question of what is the point? Moderates will never even read these slights! Instead, they just pissed off the extreme left, some of whom have used it as an opportunity to become even more self-righteous & worked up than usual (looking at Glenn Greenwald here). I only predict that'll get worse from here since this attack has only feed the notion that the WH doesn't care about them (which very will may be true).

But in this situation, there just doesn't seem to be any upside here. Reminds me of that ridiculous attack on Labor after the Halter/Lincoln primary several months ago. No real benefit.

Posted by: OKeefePup | August 10, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

@M81: Eventually, Obama will realize that American elections are about base turnout.

I would modify that slightly and add the word off-year...

Even if all liberals turn out, they are too geographically concentrated in urban areas to help more moderate dems fight off repub challengers across the country. They would definitely help senate candidates though.

Posted by: srw3 | August 10, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

What a historic moment, quite reminiscent of Roosevelt's advice to his fellow Democrats back in the day - "I agree with you, I want to do it, now go get tested for drugs you dirty hippies."

Modern day Democrats never miss a chance to bash Progressives in the hopeless pursuit of Republican approval, not unlike a chronically beaten wife vowing to keep the house even cleaner. Bob Shrum is right - Republicans fear their base; Democrats outright loathe theirs.

Posted by: BigTunaTim | August 10, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

michealh81: "There are more liberals who aren't planning to get out and vote for D's who are gettable for Obama than there are independents. Eventually, Obama will realize that American elections are about base turnout."

Your point is very true, but it is not a one way street. If the liberals want to continue to make progress, then sitting at home on election day will not facilitate that end.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | August 10, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

suekzoo1 - i agree, but that doesn't mean the WH can take them forgranted.

srw3 - that's a false choice, since he can appeal to independents by standing up for the same things that liberals care about - jobs, public option, new energy, etc...

Posted by: michaelh81 | August 10, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I am slightly confused as to what a Liberal is today in the Political sense.

I have no idea what a Conservative is today.
There is nothing conservative about the Republicans.
keep saying most of the country is really conservative every time they get on the airways.

If what they preach is conservative.
I do not want any part of their destructive and arrogant behavior.

Let them go fight their own wars and see how long they last..


Posted by: vettessman | August 10, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

You're equating "approval" with "refusal to criticize in the least", which is silly.

Some even among the Professional Left who criticize Obama might well respond that they "approve", "approve somewhat" or "approve mildly" of Obama as President.

Yes, even while thinking that it's disappointing that Obama has continued some policies more similar to Bush (which is a far cry from "He's exactly like Bush in every way", please note.)

What Gibbs was lashing out at was criticism, which you're going to have to accept as President. You are in this country, anyway.

Gibbs has a perfect right to respond that way too, by the way, it's just one of the stupidest moves ever made by an administration, if you ask me. The left already felt taken for granted, and yes, even feeling that way, may still give an overall "approve rather than disapprove" rating. When you look at the contrast between what came before, who wouldn't?

Posted by: BillEPilgrim | August 10, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps someone at the WH is making the point that gas bags on the right AND left do nothing to advance meaningful and useful discourse. To be honest, I would think less of Obama if he didn't slam those on his side who were talking just to hear themselves speak -- Beck and Palin are schmucks because they prove that intelligence and honesty are not prerequisites for opinion; it is only fitting that the same rules apply to schmucks on the left as well.

Posted by: bwjamin | August 10, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

You are assuming that, because 12% of liberals disapprove of Obama's performance, they won't vote for him. WRONG. When given a choice between Obama and whomever the GOP nominates, ALL liberals will GLADLY vote Obama.
And, WHEN ( not IF ) Obama wins in 2012, he will be free to indulge his liberal faithful.
Stay strong, liberals.
Suck on it, Goobers.

Posted by: cjbass55 | August 10, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Not this liberal.

I think Obama is a cravenly coward and I despise him for it.

Posted by: solsticebelle | August 10, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

88% of liberals support the pork filled, deal laden, overly complex health care bill. . .this says a lot about their intelligence and integrity.

Posted by: sarno | August 10, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

"Even as his ratings have declined overall he's stayed in that sort of mid-80s range with liberal voters."
And since self identified liberals make up about 20% of the population, less than 20% of the likely voting population, Obama's current approval rating of 41% means that less than 30% of independent or conservative white voters think he is doing swell. Fewer than one third.

Posted by: amazd | August 10, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

All, check out this amazing ad from a House DEMOCRAT attacking Obama:

Posted by: Greg Sargent | August 10, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Ha ha. Where am I supposed to go? Support do-nothing Republicans?

Not. Going. To. Happen. Ever.

The Republican Party of the United States would rather hold the workings of government hostage in the hope they'll win some elections. I might be more inclined to support some Republicans who can demonstrate they care more about their country than their narrow political ideology, but I see we're at an impasse on this one.

Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | August 10, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Yes 88% of liberals support the a useful idiot like Lenin used to say about US communists back in the day. The other 12% are more hard core and don't think he rises to the level of useful.

Posted by: PanhandleWilly | August 10, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

The White House overreacts to everything. Except when it doesn't react at all.

Posted by: Itzajob | August 10, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Liberals aren't bothered by discussion and debate. That's why we don't need Glenn Beck to think for us. The only problem with all of the apparent in-fighting is that it is viewed as a sign of weakness by the Right. We just need to get comfortable with who we are and make sure we all get out to vote in November.

Posted by: JimZ1 | August 10, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

I'm a very liberal gay agenda lifelong Democrat, and despite the "poll" results, I don't support The Big O's socialist agenda, and won't vote EVER vote for anyone using the tag "progressive". Progressives are a cancerous entity in the Democratic party and are really nothing more than Faux Democrats too ashamed to call themselves communists and socialists.

Just because you don't like all the flavors at Baskin & Robbins doesn't mean they don't exist, and this article reeks of the current outbreak of liberal ostrich syndrome. (LMAOROTF) 88% still approve of HCR, that's some funny funny stuff! *spits*

Posted by: WhatAreYouPeopleSmoking | August 10, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

umm, and how many liberals are out there compared to independents and conservatives? Not many. Even Hitler polled quite well with the Nazis....

Posted by: WildBill1 | August 10, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I remember a lot of hair-pulling and other assorted nonsense right before Obama's landslide victory in '08 too. I think more than anything liberals are tired of the constant whining from the Right. At some point it gets tiresome. But don't worry, when it matters we'll be at the voting booths.

Posted by: FormerRepublicant | August 10, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Despite the strongly rightward drift of coverage in the Post (churning out favorable coverage on Palin daily), this blog is basically right on liberals and Obama, but understates the point.

Liberals, or progressives, are unhappy that the President is not doing more to live up to who we know him to be. But the burn-the-Constitution traitors and irrational bigots of the extreme right scare us much more.

Take gay marriage - Obama is not where we want him. But there is not a single rational argument for banning gay marriage, other than some folks don't wants gays to have equal legal rights.

That's a moral judgemnt the law forbids, no matter (especially) how religiously grounded.

Health care reform at least passed, however diluted, and financial reform, an the end of the Iraq war, and Don't Ask Don't Tell, and a massive stimulus, and a profit on TARP. All good stuff.

Could Obama be better? Oh yeah. He's no "fierce advocate" for our community, as he claims. But do we want John Boehner in charge of the House of Representatives? Sen. Grassley chairing a committee? I'd rather stick pins in my eyes...

Posted by: dcnyhunter | August 10, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

The Useful Idiots' and state-controlled media's criticisms of Clueless Comrade Barry - and Gibbs' reactions to it - are just a dance designed to portray The Regime as something other than the Marxist outfit that it is.

Posted by: PauvrePapillon | August 10, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

85% of liberals support Obama no matter what he does. They only hated all those Bush policies because it was convenient, they support Obama parroting Bush's worst excesses. We are better off with Palin as the next President rather than give the illiberal blowhards another chance at screwing things up.

Posted by: junket | August 10, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

The liberals just adore that Obama escalated the war in Afghanistan last December at West Point. Blood and guts never fail to inspire them.

The liberals just adore Obama's cover-up of the the gulf oil catastrophe. They just love that he is in bed with BP.

Posted by: alance | August 10, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

I think that it's not just about whether or not liberals approve of Obama. Shows like Olbermann or the Ed Show seems excited to take Obama down a peg despite everything Obama has done. The constant barrage of anger from high profile liberal shows like those and from FDL etc decrease liberal enthusiasm for the election and sow cynicism about what can be done (regardless of the fact that Obama and the dems have already done a tremendous amount). In addition, the fact that Obama gets little support from high profile liberals bleeds over into the independents. When independents hear the torrents of anger from both the right and the left, they become disaffected as well. This particular problem I see all the time with my immediate family. They are relatively low information, middle of the road voters, and the anger from all sides has seriously affected their outlook on politics. So, while Greg and some others really try to have responsible commentary that tries hard to mix legitimate criticism with deserved praise, a lot of the other high profile liberals don't appear to care much about that balance.

Posted by: kyllaros | August 10, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

They can say what they want (Leftists), but November is coming and those are the only numbers that will count.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | August 10, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

@PauvrePapillon : It is truly sad that you use Marxist with no understanding of the term, today or in its historical context. Have you ever even read any Marx, beyond the Manifesto(although I doubt that you read even that)? If you had, you would see that Obama is not even remotely a Marxist. I hate to disturb the view from your porch in the suburbs of rightwingnutistan with this information, but you brought it up....

Posted by: srw3 | August 10, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I'm a liberal and I disapprove of Obama's performance. He has disappointed and embarrassed liberals. He needs to fire his entire staff, especially Geithner, Summers, and Emmanuel, and start listening to the people.

Posted by: Chagasman | August 10, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

The major weakness with most "polls" is that they are conducted by using land line telephones; telephones which many people seldom use and rarely answer. In using land line telephones pollsters also leave out a significant portion of young people who also vote but don't have land line telephones.

Poolsters haven't kept up with the new technology and are mired in a method that worked thirty, forty, fifty years ago but doesn't work today.

Posted by: flamingliberal | August 10, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Obama may have the support of liberals but most people in this country are either left of center or right of center, but somewhere near the center. That does not bode well for Obama.

Posted by: shewholives | August 10, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Yeah kyllaros

Might as well as send the "professional left" to Guantanamo, that'll shut them up. Sheesh!

Here's the "political reality" that's smacking these fools across the face: kicking the progressives for not clapping loud enough will cost them politically. If they are bound and determined to test this premise, as Gibbs so "inartfully" did, then they are responsible for any loss that follows.

Republicans attempting overturn the health insurance reform after they win? It's your own fault idiots!

Posted by: junket | August 10, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

The right's insistence on labeling anything short of unregulated capitalism as "socialism" is proof that they don't believe their ideas can stand on their own merits. They have to demagogue their opponents and spread ridiculous, easily-disproven rumors (here's looking at you, Birthers) in order to manufacture enough doubt to make them seem like the lesser of two evils. That just screams confidence, doesn't it?

I'm not at all happy with Obama right now, and would probably answer "barely approve" in one of these polls, but after watching the GOP descend into unmitigated madness over the last decade there's no chance that I will vote for them at the national level for many years to come. So, it's Democrats by default. And they know it.

Posted by: BigTunaTim | August 10, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

The Useful Idiots' and state-controlled media's criticisms of Clueless Comrade Barry - and Gibbs' reactions to it - are just a dance designed to portray The Regime as something other than the Marxist outfit that it is.

Posted by: PauvrePapillon
so Gibbs is just acting frustrated with the criticism, and it's all a conspiratorial ruse orchestrated with the far left as a ploy to make Obama look more moderate?

that would be the first time anyone on the right has ever suggested that Democrats are intelligent, organized, or competent enough to pull off a stunt of this magnitude.

Posted by: JoeT1 | August 10, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

All, check out the latest daft idea about Cordoba House:

Posted by: Greg Sargent | August 10, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

A mountain out of a molehill because 99% of Americans won't read the quote from "The Hill"? This argument runs out of water when you realize we aren't discussing what Gibbs said here on "The Hill" website.

Just jump over to Google news and you'll get hundreds of hits about what Gibbs said, and I don't even think the article in "The Hill" is there.

Posted by: junket | August 10, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

"One other thing: Given that Obama is still polling extremely well among liberals in multiple polls, it's unclear why the White House overreacts to liberal criticism."

I would guess that they're reacting to the apathy regarding the midterms and they see the "Professional Left" as playing a role in suppressing liberal enthusiasm. That's probably a legitimate reading of the situation, but not by much.


Posted by: ISOK | August 10, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

How is that 44 percent jobs approval of Barry's going for you, Dims? Hmm?

84 days until Election Day. See you at the polls, Dims.

Posted by: screwjob18 | August 10, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

There appears to be a presumption that everyone who supports Obama or the Democratic Party are liberal. As the push to pass the abysmal Senate HCR package demonstrated, there are a lot more Dem partisans posing as progressives (or liberals, if you prefer) than there are ACTUAL progressives/liberals.

The truth is, Obama, Gibbs and the rest are quite conservative and they loathe the (real) Left. They've kicked us in the teeth at every opportunity since they entered office. The only reason Gibbs felt some need to clarify his statement is that it is an election year and they hope a few of us (actual) lefty types will hold our noses and cast yet another lesser of evils vote for Democrats. Sorry guys, I did that for 30 years. At this point I have difficulty even believing Dems are a lesser evil. In my opinion they've just about achieved evil parity with Republicans.

Posted by: Benny_Hill | August 10, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

There is the concern that liberals are not sufficiently enthusiastic to show up at the polls. I doubt that this is a meaningful statement. Yes. liberals and progressives are disappointed with Obama's performance and the Democrats in general, however, I don't think they will forget when the time comes that the alternative is disastrous. Not showing up is equivalent to giving a free ride to the screaming lunatics that are the enthusiastic base of the GOP and tea party.

Posted by: serban1 | August 10, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

How is it surprising the liberals approve for their guy? Remember how solid was the conservative support for Bush, one of the most awful presidents we ever had.

Obama seems to be chasing him. I don't seem to hear the liberals complaining about him any more than I heard the conservatives complaining about Bush.

The party faithful place loyalty to party above ... well, above anything! To admit your guy is a putz is to lose to the hated enemy, and you can't be doing that now, can you? Why, it would be like admitting that you yourself were just as much of an idiot.

Posted by: jontomus | August 10, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Just shows you; money can buy everything.

Posted by: JAH3 | August 10, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Whatever Gibbs says or Obama does, 95% of blacks will vote for Obama.

Posted by: Jmacaco4 | August 10, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Those of us on the left understand that even a conservative like Obama causes the right to foam at the mouth.. so, we will vote for Obama. The independents will vote for Obama too, because the right has no one to vote for. The No Party offers nothing! nada!

Posted by: bozhogg | August 10, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

@shewholives : If most people are in the center, they have to vote Obama because the repubs have gone so far to the right that they are approaching the borders of rightwingnutistan.

Obama is a centrist. He campaigned as a centrist. He governs as a centrist. We on the left would like to pull him a bit left, but even with our best efforts his will only be a slightly left of centrist.

Posted by: srw3 | August 10, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Queen obama off in spain being extravagant, king obama here being useless - I think we'd all be better off if obama just travelled around the world collecting unearned prizes than continuing to bungle up our nation. Wouldn't it be nice to have a president that actually liked America? Or wasn't an idiot? Someday.

Posted by: spott518 | August 10, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

I desperately want Obama to push the envelope on climate legislation, green energy policy and environmental protection but I fully understand the limitations with our system of governance. You must play to the middle ground as a practical matter, especially with the party of NO committed to making you look like a nutjob. I may be unhappy with particular aspects of the Obama outcome, but I always support and respect him. He is on the right track. He is trying.

I think intellectual debate and difference of opinion is quite refreshing and stimulating rather than the completely dogmatic and command and control policies of the Republican/Tea party. Signing pledges to enact particular policy no matter what the situation dictates is utter nonsense. The Repubs act like sheep herded into a pack of wolves, and blindly follow whatever the filthy rich tell them to do.

Let the professional left make some noise. It's healthy.

Posted by: citizen4truth1 | August 10, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

"This bears out what other polls have found. It suggests that Gibbs was right when he said that rank and file liberals still like Obama, and some will point to this as proof that Obama's liberal critics don't speak for the left and just get attention because they have big megaphones.

"But there may be another conclusion to be drawn here. If criticism of the White House from the left isn't meaningfully depressing Obama's support among liberals, than what's the harm?"

Is that a serious question? I have to wonder about you sometimes lately, Greg. But maybe I should just count my blessings and be happy that you managed to make through that entire post without using the term "urinating." So OK, I'll bite.

One rather obvious problem is that you can't actually win a statewide election anywhere in this country -- and precious few congressional districts for that matter -- just on the strength of the liberal vote. Period.

There are probably a larger number places where you can just about do it with nothing but conservatives, but outside of a handful college towns and inner city districts here and there, liberals simply can't win federal elections without bringing along some fellow travelers from the center. And obviously, if Obama's approval has gone from 75% down to 45% he's lost support from somewhere. So if it isn't liberals abandoning him then who is?

A related problem of course is that the political center is largely made up of people who are not that passionate about politics. They don't spend all day keeping track of who's calling who names for what. They just hear people from all sides of the political spectrum calling the someone nasty names pretty much non-stop and eventually the impression seeps through that wow, this guy must really suck. Nobody seems to like him, not even his friends. This, BTW, was the rationale behind Ronald Reagan's famous 11th commandment about airing one's internal disputes in public and Republicans have done well when they remembered it.

There's actually one more pretty obvious downside that I can think of, but this one is not a problem for Obama or Democrats in congress as such. It's that the constant drone of gratuitous whining and moaning that Obama is a sell-out and a coward and that spineless Democratic congresscritters have failed us at every turn, has just about convinced a lot of liberals that some of the aforementioned bigger megaphones on the left are every bit as full of sh*t as the most full-of-sh*t megaphones of the radical right, and frankly, about as helpful to our cause.

Posted by: CalD | August 10, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

I'll be happy if he just doesn't turn out to be another Jimmy Carter.

Posted by: daweeni | August 10, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

The last three repugs ran the deficit up $9 trillion, destroyed our worldwide reputation and left our economy second-world and falling. Education and healthcare have become nightmares in the best right-wing fright show while our infrastructure is falling apart. Deregulation trashed the housing and banking industries and the neo-cons think a third depression in 110 years is a sign of success.

Obama hasn't started a war, alienated any nation nor driven millions into poverty. Compared to 43, 42, 40, 38 and 37 I think 44 is a rave success. Best we have had since World War II.

Posted by: BigTrees | August 10, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Once they grow up, they won't be so gay for him.

Posted by: carlbatey | August 10, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

It would be hard to imagine a less consequential issue, or one of less concern to the American public, than whether Oboobma still stirs liberals to an orgiastic frenzy.

Americans are totally over Oboobma.

Posted by: thebump | August 10, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

After reading some of these comments, it is still abundantly clear that most Americans just don't have a basic understanding of how our three branches of government work, especially the relationship between congress and the presidency.

Unfortunately, the media has done a successful job of conflating the president's political power (in the public's mind) with the outcomes of congressional authority. So as long as we keep making the success, or failure, of self-governance about Obama, or any other president, the true will of "we the people" will never be fully realized.

Currently, division is our de facto "dictator", while e pluribus unum is our only salvation!

Posted by: D-0f-G | August 10, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

"Not showing up is equivalent to giving a free ride to the screaming lunatics that are the enthusiastic base of the GOP and tea party."

Sure, but I look at it this way: the sooner the rioting starts, the sooner we'll see some actual progress. Wreck the system. Vote Republican.

Posted by: fzdybel | August 10, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

I suspect that rating might change in the next poll.

Posted by: miriamac2001 | August 10, 2010 11:45 PM | Report abuse

"The Professional Left" deserves every bit of Robert Gibbs' smack down when he said:

"I hear these people saying he's like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested," Gibbs said. "I mean, it's crazy."

Gibbs WAS NOT talking about the average evey day liberal. AND WE ALL KNOW THIS. But there has been a constant bellyaching and whinning for the past few months from people who can't get over the fact that Hillary Clinton lost the nomination.

I don't recall anyone, anywhere saying that President Obama can't be criticized. But look at who is doing the criticizing, more aptly described as trashing.

These so-called progressives or "professional left" are undermining President Obama and using republican talking points to do it.

They are suffering from Obama Derangement Syndrome and use every opportunity they can and then some to trash him.

There is hatred among the professional left that started during the run up to the election when Hillary Clinton and now President Obama Barack were batteling it out. They just about lost their minds when President Obama won the nomination. They are hanging onto this hatred and are still fighting Hillary's lost election and those who have a platform like Huffington, Hamsher, Greenwald and others use their platforms to trash the President.

They are not interested in "steering" the President in the right direction. This not what they are after. Their goal is to help bring down President Obama to "prove" that Hillary Clinton or Dennis Kucinich should have been president. Just like the republicans and many in what passes for the media (not just Fox) they are ticked off that President Obama has accomplished something.

Do you ever hear these people talking about how the republicans have been obstructing the Democrats and the President since BEFORE he took office?

Now why is that?

I for one are sick of them bellyaching and whinning. Don't vote for the man if he is not doing everything you want him to do. This is still America.


Posted by: Sammy2 | August 11, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

It's gotten so bad for Obama Democrats that now they only poll themselves for inflated numbers. And even then they can't get unity.

If you're going to poll only the Democrats, at least use a likert scale. I bet then the numbers look quite different.

It's so funny, though, the media would even print this kind of data. It's so self re-assuring for these weasels, that while the MAJORITY of the country disapproves of this administration's policies, the Democrats can feel secure that the majority of the minority approve of Obama's administration.

What is the use of that statistic other than to say, "hey - we're mostly pleasing the few."

Posted by: scorereader1 | August 12, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I've been trying to call the White House to tell them this, but I can't get through. I guess lots of people have things to get off their chest.

I want the white house to know that YES, I WOULD BE SATISFIED if Dennis Kucinich were President. In fact, I would like to thank the Obama Administration's staff (Emanuel, Gibbs) for, through their repeating insults (Emanual calling liberals retards -- after which he apologized to disabled people but never to liberals -- and now Gibbs, calling us crazy and drugged) reminding me that I should NEVER compromise again by voting for someone whose positions are to the right of what I would like to see in office.

I not only voted for Obama, I drove little old ladies to the polls to vote for him. I devoted a couple of days of my life and some of my money to his campaign. And I was thrilled and hopeful when he was elected.

But if yet another Democratic administration thinks they can sit down and shake hands with, placate, and practice diplomacy with right wing republicans and corporate interests, while publicly deriding and taking for granted -- yeah, slamming and insulting -- the progressive wing of its own party, and still get my vote, money, and volunteer time, they will have a rude awakening next election.

I now realize that I am throwing away my vote when I vote Democratic. They despise their own most avid supporters -- the progressives and left -- while we are expected to suck it up, year after year, and watch them compromise with the right. All because they think we have nowhere else to go.

Maybe we really need to start supporting a progressive 3rd party candidate for 2012. NOW.

Posted by: lilifreak | August 13, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

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