October 12th, 2010
04:51 PM ET
4 years ago

Preston on Politics: Obama's likeability no help for Democrats

Every afternoon, CNN Senior Political Editor Mark Preston takes you behind the headlines on a few top stories, looks ahead at what will makes news tomorrow and why it matters.

Obama's likability is no help for Democrats: People like the president, just not his policies. A new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll confirms this fact with 59 percent of Americans saying that he has the "personal qualities a president should have."

Good news? Well, not so fast. When asked, "Do you agree with Obama on issues that matter to you," only 42 percent answered yes. Ouch. And I mean ouch for Congressional Democrats, not the president.

Why? Because there are only 21 days until Election Day and voters are going to take their anger out on Democratic lawmakers who have spent the past 20-plus months helping pass Obama's agenda. If Obama was on the ballot, likability and loyalty might convince some voters to support him even though his job favorability remains below 50 percent.

The bottom line is that Obama has time to recover and turn his job performance numbers around. Congressional Democrats do not.

Tea Party targets Barney Frank: The Tea Party Express just announced it is setting its sights on Rep. Barney Frank, D-Massachusetts.

"You can help us defeat Barney Frank - one of the worst liberals in Congress - and make history," reads an email from the Tea Party group known for its cross-country bus tours. "Please support our efforts to Defeat Barney Frank by making a contribution." Frank, first elected in 1980, was recently joined on the campaign trail by former President Clinton. But Frank, who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, is not necessarily in danger of losing his seat.

"Winning this seat is by no means an easy task, but it's not totally outside the realm of possibility either," said a GOP strategist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "If Barney Frank loses on November 2nd, we're likely looking at a 60-plus seat wave so big that Cape Cod might not be on the map by the end the night."

So if Frank is expected to win re-election, why is the Tea Party's involvement important? Well, an influx of money now could help the Frank's Republican opponent Sean Bielat as an alternative to the longtime Democrat. And if a huge GOP wave developed on Election Night, it is plausible that Frank could lose. Stranger things have happened in Massachusetts. After all, a little-known Republican state senator came out of nowhere in January 2009 to win the late Edward Kennedy's Senate seat.

Why be positive, when you can be negative: In the last 60 days, more than $53 million has been spent on political television ads by outside interest groups, according to a new analysis conducted for CNN by Campaign Media Analysis Group. And get this - 89 percent of those ads have been negative! Evan Tracey, president of CMAG and CNN's television advertising consultant, said that these outside groups' main purpose is to be negative and disruptive which then allows individual candidates to focus on a positive message.

Making news tonight in …

  • Las Vegas, where President Clinton will headline a rally for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada. Reid, first elected in 1986, is in danger of losing his seat to Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle.
  • San Rafael in northern California, where Republican Meg Whitman and Democrat Jerry Brown face off in a gubernatorial debate at Dominican University. Less than a week after a Brown aide was overheard calling Whitman a "whore," will it be civil?
  • New London, Connecticut, where Republican Linda McMahon and Democrat Richard Blumenthal meet in a Senate debate. Polling shows former wrestling executive McMahon needs to make up ground against Blumenthal.
  • Foggy Bottom in D.C., where Obama holds a "Moving America Forward" town hall meeting at George Washington University.

Making news tomorrow in …

  • Newark, Delaware, where Republican Christine O'Donnell and Democrat Chris Coons face off in a Senate debate. CNN's Wolf Blitzer is co-moderating the event and the first 30 minutes will be shown on CNN. Tune in around 7 p.m. ET – the debate begins about 25 minutes later.
  • Wisconsin and Illinois, where first lady Michelle Obama attends fundraising events for Sen. Russ Feingold in the Badger State before heading to her hometown of Chicago for a fundraiser to benefit Democratic Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias and another event for Reps. Bill Foster, Debbie Halvorson and Democratic candidate Dan Seals. Check out CNN Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry's story about the first lady Wednesday on CNNPolitics.com.
  • Washington, Illinois, where former House Speaker Newt Gingrich attends a campaign event for Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Illinois. Is Gingrich building up some 2010 goodwill for a 2012 presidential run?

Filed under: 2010 • President Obama • Preston on Politics
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Person

    And how do you know this, Preston? lol. You won't know until the election, just like everyone else.

    October 12, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  2. Rachel

    awwh why not? He's likeable enough isn't he?

    October 12, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  3. LacrosseMom(real one)

    Really..... "No help for the Democrats"????????? Considering that in the latest CNN poll last week, the majority of Americans LIKE President Obama!

    Obama has been campaigning constantly to help get-out the vote! And in support of Democrats!

    I suggest, Mr. Preston, that you look up a very interesting poll, the Public Religion Research Institutes poll of voters (not likely voters) which found that "55% of Independent voters and 79% of Democrats plan to support candidates who voted FOR the Healthcare Reform Bill"!

    Mr. Preston, your article IS YOUR OPINION.

    October 12, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  4. D. Bunker

    While it's arguable what value Obama's likeability will have in the election, one thing is for certain: The GOBP's UNLIKEABILITY will be a major factor. They complain when Dems mention the Bush disaster we are still experiencing today, yet rather than come up with some viable ideas to help Main St. America, the teatards spend all their time screaming about Obama. That is not the basis for a valid political party. These cultists are stuck worshiping hate, lies, fear and propaganda while pursuing their failed ideas like tax cuts for the ultrarich, deregulation and global (unfair) trade. Returning them to power would be like hiring a pedophile to run a preschool, or the captain of the Titanic to run a cruise ship. If you liked the ditch the GOBP drove America into last time, you'll LOVE the canyon they're aiming for now.

    October 12, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  5. angry liberal

    That is kind of the problem. He relying on being "liked". He would have had a much bigger influence if he had delivered on his liberal promises. But we see now he is the Status Quo and not Change.

    October 12, 2010 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  6. William

    I am not sure why any one would like Obama he is a total failure and a disgrace to his office. He has accused a fellow US citizen of a crime with no evidence and no proof to support his allegations. All major news sources have called Obama a liar yet he in a desperate attempt to change the talk of his total failure persists to accuse with slanderous baseless charges. He is a desperate lunatic.However the voters are angry at all politicians in general but they are horrified by the DEMOS utter incompetence of the last nearly 4 years that they have controlled congress. The nation has steadily gone to hell in a hand basket under their control. Come Nov I imagine there will be a sea change.

    October 12, 2010 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  7. William

    Most Americans now understand that the demos caused the meltdown with their Fannie Mea and Freddie Mack disaster and refusal to regulate the Finance companies since 2003 when Bush said it was essential to do so to prevent the very meltdown that the DEMOS caused. It happened while the DEMOS controlled congress just like everything else bad that has happened has happened since the DEMOS took control of congress in 2007. The GOP thank GOD will take the house and if they do not take the SENATE outright they will at least win enough seats to make it impossible for Obama and the DEMOS to continue their destruction of America crusade. The good news is that there are now only 38% of Americans brain dead enough to vote for Obama again. The sad news is that there are still 38% of very foolish people in America.

    October 12, 2010 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  8. terry, va

    How can Obummie's likability rating be any different than his job approval? He sucks at his job and therefore he sucks. Nothing personal, but we didn't vote him in because he can smile and read a teleprompter. Well, maybe we did. How about it kids?

    October 12, 2010 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  9. gtsmoker

    That's because he's not liked.
    He never was.
    He won because he was not Bush.

    October 12, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  10. TruthSpeaker

    Where is GWB? In hiding? Does he not want to remind America of the utter failure of his republican administration? Visual images bring back memories better than anything else. GEORGIE, WHERE ARE YOU?? Lol. Come out, come out wherever you are. Republican cowards

    October 12, 2010 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  11. Edward

    Obama is a likeable guy, but then you read his policies. The you figure out that hr mimcks socialism and wants higher taxs on the rich. Keep mind it is the rich who employ people and becoming rich is one of the fundemental goals of being an american. He also wasted and i do mean wasted 787 billion dollars, and he passed the healthcare law which is like a dictionary of earmarks and buyouts. Once you know this his likability plumits.

    October 12, 2010 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  12. Patrick from Minnesota

    After studying the past two years or so and looking forward, I would most equate Pres. Barack Obama with the likes of Nelson Mandela. He, like our president, served in a time of crisis. There was a substantial portion of the population that hated him racially and tried to hide it with useless rants. His starting approval numbers were low. But after all was said and done, he was praised by both the world and his country for his achievements both at home and abroad. I expect great things from our president and I still proudly say I voted for him.

    Obama 2012

    October 12, 2010 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  13. Not fooled

    " In the last 60 days 53 million has been spent on negative advertising by special interests, and 89% is negative." That tells me all I need to know. They want to be unregulated ,no tax increase, and continue to ship our jobs overseas. Thank you Supreme Court ruling for Citizens United. Our elections are now being bought by foreigners, just like President Obama said in his State of the Union Address. But guess what voting is free. I believe there are a lot of Democrats that will show up to vote. We may not be loud but we will be there. We will not let them sell out America that we love.

    October 12, 2010 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  14. Thomas

    The progressives will be annihilated on November 2nd, and thats a shame, because I agree with a lot of their policies. But I also see the writing on the wall. My own family and friends are convinced that republicans are going to bring back prosperity, there is no changing their mind at this late date, I've tried. Whatever you may think of the right wing, you've got to hand it to their message machine...

    October 12, 2010 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  15. jeanette johnson

    People Are Always Spitting On Obama And The Demacrats What About The Mess Bush And His Daddy Took Us Thru Didn,t Spend Billions On Katrina Oh What About The Billions After The World Trade Center I Forgot I,m A Mental Patient.

    October 12, 2010 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  16. John Brown

    You can't tell until Nov 3, 2010. It's too early to make such prediction. When people going to vote? They become so ego. They tend to vote for their own benefit not the country. It don't matter who is running. I already set my vote. It's D. D. And D... Hell with R! They just care with their own color. Brown=Black to Republican Tea Party.

    October 12, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  17. once upon a horse

    let's face it...we Americans are an impatient group of people. All the people complaining about what the president hasn't done I just wonder if he had come in and let the banks fail, the auto industry fail, veoted the bill for equal pay for women, and did little or no stimulus what our country would look like today. One thing I think he tried to do TOO much in less than two years and with the GOP against him from day one he is not looking as good as he should. Maybe what it's going to ake is for old Bohner and his bunch to take control...Tea Party folks clash with them and just see what Obama warned us about. TOUGH LOVE? You betcha!!

    October 12, 2010 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  18. Juan

    Democrats will keep their mayority in the senate and Obama will be able to pass an inmigration law.

    October 12, 2010 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  19. Hugo

    Don't like him personally due to his ideological views, Don't like him as our Leader because he is a very poor leader, Don't like him as our President because he does not represent America nor what America was founded upon...and I really don't like OBPama taking all that money from BP and covering up for them the true damage that has occurred in the Gulf of Mexico. Seems to me the drunk driving didn't really occur until Congress took a left turn around 2006, D.Bunker and leaving Obama in power with Pelosi, well that is like giving a Democrat a full check book full of blank checks with no money in the account...Drill baby drill or Spend baby spend, take your pick, one produces jobs, one produces debt.

    October 12, 2010 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  20. rachel

    Obama has no idea about running a business , that' s why he cannot run the country. his iq might be low at some point.

    October 12, 2010 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  21. steve

    I am a dem from a time past when we stood for jobs and helping people stand on their own two feet. I could not support my party this election.As a truck driver I see free trade as a selling out of americans,I see the dems and the republicans letting jugdes hijack our constitution.WAKE UP AMERICA.

    October 12, 2010 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  22. Bender

    CNN poll!!Thats rich.Even if they could tell the truth,their heads would explode.All he does is attack Americans,he hates America and has said so openly.If all you can do is call people racists and bigots,then your on the losing side.He's going to be a lame duck POTUS for the next two years!

    October 12, 2010 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  23. Barry

    Obama is no help for anybody. He spends millions of dollars running around crying wolf. With Obama there is always a bad guy doing bad stuff. The whole "Chicken Little" routine of his has gotten old.

    October 12, 2010 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |