Political Animal

Blog

March 01, 2013 2:51 PM Contra the “Obama the Lefty” Meme

By Ed Kilgore

Since in the spin wars over the sequester we are going to hear a lot more about how the president is representing the hard-core lefty activist “base” of the Democratic Party, shunning the moderates who want him to cut deals with the GOP to promote growth through “entitlement reform,” I will offer some reality therapy.

In Gallup’s latest weekly summary of presidential job approval numbers, 85% of self-identified “moderate Democrats” give the president a positive assessment. 79% of self-identified “conservative Democrats” do so as well.

And overall, 60% of self-identified “moderates” (including Democrats, independents and Republicans) give Obama a positive job rating.

If we were looking at personal approval rates, all these numbers would almost certainly be higher.

So whatever criticisms Republicans want to make towards the president’s position in recent arguments over the budget, guns, immigration, and the minimum wage, one that really needs to be dropped once and for all is this claim that he doesn’t represent the “real” views of the Democratic rank-and-file.

UPDATE: Since commenter Sue asked, Obama’s current job approval rating among self-identified “liberal Democrats” is 89%.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

Comments

  • Josef K on March 01, 2013 3:08 PM:

    So whatever criticisms Republicans want to make towards the president’s position...one that really needs to be dropped once and for all is this claim that he doesn’t represent the “real” views of the Democratic rank-and-file.

    To which any true-blue Republican voter will say (whine, really) "Don't go confusing me with facts!"

  • Sue on March 01, 2013 3:26 PM:

    What is his approval among Liberal/Progressive Democrats like me?


    I doubt it is nearly as high!

  • sgetti on March 01, 2013 3:37 PM:

    Obama is very much a "lefty". Left-handed writing, golf swing, has problems with standard scissors.

  • Aaron Morrow on March 01, 2013 3:38 PM:

    "the president is representing the hard-core lefty activist “base” of the Democratic Party, shunning the moderates who want him to cut deals with the GOP to promote growth through “entitlement reform"

    He just again mentioned his willingness to cut Social Security as part of a deal today!

    I think Ed Kilgore should mention this the next time he brings up the issue. I don't mean that it's dishonest not to mention it, but it supports his thesis more directly than referring to opinion polls.

  • c u n d gulag on March 01, 2013 4:20 PM:

    Jayzoos H. Keerist, playing 11th Dimensional Chess, President Obama is NO Liberal!

    At best, he's basically a Centrist.
    And if you want to add a little leftie primer to the paint, I suppose some people might say he's a "Left-leaning" Centrist.
    SOME!

    But take a look at what he's ready to compromise on, and tell me he's a Liberal?

    He ain't NO Liberal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • c u n d gulag on March 01, 2013 4:29 PM:

    And, the Obama Adnimistrations approval of the "Keystone POOPline," just proved what I just wrote!

    OY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • JR on March 01, 2013 5:22 PM:

    Anyone who paid serious attention over the years knows that Obama is a pragmatic progressive, leaning towards a Tsongas Democrat. It surprised me even less after reading, later in the 2008 campaign cycle when it was down to Obama, HRC and McCain, that only the Obamas had no personal debt. If memory serves, after his book royalties rolled in, they paid off everything and kept a clean slate - much unlike the McCains who carried rang up approx. $100K/month.

  • FlipYrWhig on March 01, 2013 7:49 PM:

    89% of self-described liberal Democrats approve of Obama's job performance. Yet in the blogosphere, approval is, like, infinitesimal. That means that angry blogosphere liberals are way, way off the main current of even American liberals, let alone Democrats generally. And yet we tend to think that the blogs = liberals = "the base" of the party. It ain't so. The numbers prove it.

  • Rabbler` on March 02, 2013 9:39 AM:

    That update stat has to be bogus. If it were true, why would the moderate/conservative Democrats, right up to the president, spend so much time scolding Democrats of the Left. Are they trying to promote the false equivalency?