Obama’s Approval Slump: Elders and Women Driving it Down

A woman takes a selfie as President Barack Obama's helicopter lifts off from the South Lawn of the White House on June 26, 2014.

Photograph by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A woman takes a selfie as President Barack Obama’s helicopter lifts off from the South Lawn of the White House on June 26, 2014.

It’s not only the support that President Barack Obama is losing that should concern his party heading into the midterm congressional elections.

It’s whose support he’s losing.

Below the surface of the latest measure of the president’s job approval today, measured at 4o percent in the Gallup Poll, two blocs of voters in particular have registered the biggest drop-off during the past month: The elderly and women.

Looking at six-day blocks of polling, with about 3,500 people surveyed, the president’s 41 percent approval during the latest period, through July 27, was just a notch lower than the 42 percent recorded during the last week of June.

Yet it had fallen from 37 percent to 32 percent among those 65 and older, and from 47 percent to 43 percent among women.

When a Democratic president is losing support among women, his party takes immediate notice. And, when it comes to midterm elections, that loss of support for the president is registering among those most likely to vote.

In the 2010 elections, 45.5 percent of Americans eligible to vote did so, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, as we’ve noted before.  The youngest, those 18 to 24, turned out the least, at 21.3 percent. The oldest turned out the most, with 62.1 percent of those aged 65 to 74 voting. Only the youngest voted Democratic, exit polls showed.

The president continually mentions the “congenital disease” that Democrats demonstrate during midterm elections — a persistent drop-off in voter turnout.

Yet, 100 days out from the midterm elections, the recent souring of older voters and women on the president’s job performance could become more of an environmental factor. As the Washington Post notes today, midterm election polling going back to 1946 shows few presidents “have seen their fortunes improve by any significant measure between July and November.”

The Cook Political Report’s Jennifer Duffy wrote this week:

“Primary season is largely completed, the August congressional recess starts next week, and the general election is a mere 102 days away. As such, this is as good a time as any to assess where the battle for the Senate stands. Just how close are Republicans to picking up the six seats they need to win the majority? The short answer is pretty close…

“Overall, Republicans still have more advantages going into the fall, especially when it comes to the Senate race map, national environment, and President Obama’s unpopularity. All these factors mean that Republicans will certainly gain seats. It is not yet clear that they will gain the six seats they need for a majority.”

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