Editor’s note: This is another in a series of “WND/WENZEL POLLS” conducted exclusively for WND by the public-opinion research and media consulting company Wenzel Strategies.
At the recent White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington, President Obama joked about how radio host Rush Limbaugh had characterized him in his second term as an abortion-promoting, same-sex marriage-endorsing, perpetual campaigner.
It appears, however, that most Americans are not laughing.
According to a poll for WND by Wenzel Strategies, nearly 7 of 10 Americans believe either the Obama administration is taking the nation in the wrong direction or they are not sure.
Only some 32 percent say the U.S. is on the right track, and even among the president’s own party members, only 58 percent agree with that statement. Agreement among Republicans was 8 percent, and among independents it was only 26 percent.
Pollster Fritz Wenzel noted that previous presidents earned much higher respect from Americans for their accomplishments by this point in their administrations. His poll was conducted by telephone from April 25-29 and has a margin of error of 3.03 percentage points.
“This is the time in a typical presidential administration when optimism tends to begin to be on the upswing, but that is clearly not the case here,” Wenzel explained.
“By this time in the Reagan administration, which began with a severe economic crisis, the economy was booming and optimism was rampant. At this point in the Clinton administration, the economy was strong and Americans were pleased. Both Reagan and Clinton encountered second-term scandals, but there has been nothing but trouble since the start of the Obama administration, and people appear to be sick of it,” he said.
Only Americans who call themselves “very liberal” actually think things are improving or will continue to do so, according to the poll.
Even then, only 63 percent of the people in that category say the U.S. in moving in the right direction. Among the “liberal,” only 46 percent believe that. Only 38 percent of moderates, 12 percent of conservatives and 9 percent of the very conservative agree.
“Likely voters across the country remain downcast about the direction in which the nation is headed, as the economy remains in the doldrums and government leaders in Washington appearing oblivious to the problem and carefree about its impact on citizens,” Wenzel said.
“There remains a decided partisan split on the question, as 59 percent of Democrats saying they think things are headed in the right direction, but just 9 percent of Republicans saying the same thing. Political independents were decidedly downcast, as just 26 percent said things are headed in the right direction but 62 percent said things are off on the wrong track.
“The more liberal the respondent, the more likely they were to say things were headed in the right direction, the survey shows. Single respondents were more likely than married respondents to say things were headed in the right direction,” he said.
Some 31 percent of men say the nation is on the right track and 32 percent of women, who were a little less certain, as 14 percent said they didn’t know.
Across age brackets, only those in their 50s and 60s approved of the direction Obama is taking the country by more than a 30 percent margin.
“I cannot help but wonder whether likely voters are now so weary of the incompetence of the Obama administration that they are simply losing hope that anything will change until he leaves office,” Wenzel said.
“It is clear that most Americans are tired of the constant politicking of the president. He seems unable or unwilling to govern, and substitutes a never-ending campaign against his political opponents on issue after issue, with diminishing results.”
He continued: “Obama’s job approval rating is stuck far below 50 percent, coming in at 44 percent in this survey. Another 54 percent give him negative marks for his work, while 2 percent are unsure. Those with intense opinions of his job performance are decidedly tilted to the negative, as 26 percent saying he is doing an excellent job, but 44 percent say he is doing a poor job.”
Wenzel said the bottom line for Obama “is that it is growing more unlikely that public opinion will ever improve much, if at all.”
“Any improvement in the economy seems to come in spite of, not because, of his leadership,” he said.
“Factor in the looming bureaucratic nightmare of Obamacare and the fallout from a laundry list of international crises and his political fortunes are heading for the cliff. The question whose answer will become clear over the next 18 months is just how much other Democrats will suffer at the ballot box because of his continued failure in leadership or their continued support of that failure.”
The current results show an even lower level of confidence in Obama than the stunningly low marks in January.
See detailed results of survey questions: