Morning Examiner: Gas drives Obama underwater

Politics,Beltway Confidential,Conn Carroll

President Obama should be having a good month. Last Friday’s jobs report showed another gain of at least 200,000 jobs. The unemployment rate isn’t falling, but at least it is not rising past its current 8.3 percent. A slew of economic data was revised upward from last quarter. The economy is now firmly in an at-least stable, but admittedly weak, recovery. Obama’s job approval ratings should be rising. He should be crushing his Republican competition. But he’s not.

According to a new Washington Post poll released this morning, not only do more Americans disapprove of Obama’s handling of his job as president than approve (46 percent approve/50 percent disapprove), but in a head-to-head match-up with Mitt Romney, Obama is trailing by two points, 49 percent to 47 percent.

The culprit is obvious: gas prices. According to The Post, “Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they disapprove of the way the president is handling the situation at the pump, where rising prices have already hit hard. Just 26 percent approve of his work on the issue, his lowest rating in the poll.” The poll found that Obama also had net negative ratings on the budget deficit (an all-time low), Iran, the economy, energy policy, and Afghanistan.

But it appears to be the gas prices that are driving most of Obama’s movement downwards. Whites without college degrees are among the most likely to say the rise in prices has caused serious economic hardship. They also now overwhelming disapprove of Obama by a 2-to-1 margin, 66 percent to 28 percent.

It is the stated policy of Obama’s Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, that the United States ought to have higher gas prices like they do in Europe. Now that Obama’s policies are delivering on the promise, Americans are beginning to voice their opposition.

Campaign 2012
Alabama: A new PPP poll has Romney up 31 percent to 30 percent over Newt Gingrich, with Rick Santorum in third at 29 percent in Alabama. Rasmussen also shows a tight race with Gingrich at 30, Santorum at 29, and Romney at 28.

Mississippi: PPP has Gingrich up 33 percent to 31 percent over Romney in Mississippi, with Santorum in third at 27 percent. Rasmussen has Romney up eight over both his competitors at 35 percent.

Gingrich: Fox News is reporting that Gingrich is in talks with Rick Perry to announce a Gingrich-Perry ticket that will campaign all the way to the convention in Tampa.

Santorum: On Meet the Press Sunday, Santorum said Romney doesn’t “tell the truth” about health care.

Obama: The AFL-CIO will endorse Obama Tuesday, providing him with a 400,000-person army to knock on doors nation-wide.

Around the Bigs
The Wall Street Journal, Mortgage Deal Is Built on Tradeoffs: Only $10 billion of the headlined $25 billion bank foreclosure fraud settlement will go towards cutting loan balances for borrowers who are underwater. The rest goes towards fines, refinances, and “helping troubled borrowers.”

The Washington Examiner, U.S. soldier kills 16 Afghans, deepening crisis: An American soldier opened fire on villagers near his base in southern Afghanistan Sunday and killed 16 civilians, according to President Hamid Karzai, who called it an “assassination” and furiously demanded an explanation from Washington. Nine children and three women were among the dead.

ABC News, Six in 10 Criticize War in Afghanistan; Most Favor Abandoning Training Mission: Sixty percent of Americans say the war in Afghanistan has not been not worth fighting and 54 percent, say the United States should withdraw its forces from Afghanistan without completing its current effort to train Afghan forces to become self-sufficient.

Righty Playbook
AEI‘s James Pethokoukis notes that the Obama recovery is really a part-time jobs recovery.

At The Atlantic Avik Roy explain how Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion will reduce health care access.

At The Corner, Mario Loyola details how Obama is cutting off the U.S. from oil.

Lefty Playbook
The New York Times Paul Krugman says that Greece’s “orderly” default shows the United States should feel free to borrow and spend more.

A Democrat has introduced a bill in Ohio that would require men to file an affidavit from a “sexual partner” certifying he was impotent before he could get a prescription for Viagra.

Talking Points Memo posts a chart comparing the unemployment rates of Obama and Reagan’s first term.

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