A new Monitor/TIPP poll has President Obama's lead over Mitt Romney slipping to a single percentage point. The Supreme Court's health care ruling is one of the reasons as Americans become more polarized.
The US Supreme Court’s recent decision upholding the Affordable Care Act was seen as a big win for President Obama. But it also appears to have cut his already-slim lead over Mitt Romney.
According to a new Investor's Business Daily/Christian Science Monitor/TIPP Poll of 825 registered voters taken just after the court’s ruling, Obama’s lead over Romney has slipped from four percentage points to just one point (43-42).
“Clearly Romney is benefiting from the Court's decision,” says Raghavan Mayur, president of TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence in Ramsey, NJ, which conducted the poll. “It is energizing the opponents of the [health care] reform, and more folks are likely to align themselves with Romney than Obama on this account.”
Romney leads among men, whites, voters older than 45, and those earning more than $50,000 a year. Obama is ahead among women, black/Hispanic voters, those younger than 45, and those earning less than $30,000 a year.
The state of the economy – particularly in light of Friday’s modest jobs report – appears to be a factor as well.
TIPP reports that 28 percent of US households – the highest figure detected so far – have at least one member looking for employment. As it has since the beginning of the year, the “financial related stress index” hovers at around 58 percent.
While a plurality (48-44 percent) approve of Obama’s overall job performance, only about one-third of those polled think he’s doing a good job on the economy; 42 percent say he’s doing a “poor” or “unacceptable” job in this category.
The poll also confirms the country’s political polarization as Election Day approaches, and it appears that that polarization is sharpening as a result of the Supreme Court’s “Obamacare” decision. By a wide margin – 61-34 percent – most Americans disapprove of the individual mandate requiring everyone to have health care insurance or pay a fine.
Still, says Mr. Mayur, “Democrats are in a celebratory mood with their President having ratified his signature piece of legislation with the Supreme Court.”
“There's also a ‘halo’ effect here,” he says. “Democrats see everything government in a positive light. For instance 64 percent of Democrats say that they prefer a larger government providing more services than a smaller government providing fewer services. On the other hand, two out of five Americans think that the country is becoming socialistic. This is the polarization.”
Meanwhile, Obama’s less-than-sterling job approval rating on the economy is extending to some prominent Democrats as well.
Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, points out that in Obama’s speech in Ohio this week the President reiterated that he had inherited the worst economy since the Great Depression.
“That's true. But the excuse is wearing thin,” Mr. Reich wrote on his Huffington Post blog Friday. “It's his economy now, and most voters don't care what he inherited.”
“He has to show he understands the depth and breadth of this crisis, and is prepared to do large and bold things to turn the economy around in his second term if and when he does have the votes in Congress,” Reich advises. “So far, his proposals are policy miniatures relative to the size of the problem.”