A significant majority of voters are considering voting against President Barack Obama in the 2012 election, expressing sour views of his new health care law and deep skepticism about his ability to create jobs and grow the sluggish economy, according to the latest POLITICO / George Washington University Battleground Poll.
Only 38 percent of respondents said Obama deserves to be reelected, even though a majority of voters hold a favorable view of him on a personal level. Forty-four percent said they will vote to oust him, and 13 percent said they will consider voting for someone else.
It’s Obama’s policies that are hurting him right now. By a 13-point margin, voters are down on the health care law. In an especially troubling sign, more than half of self-identified independents — 54 percent — have an unfavorable opinion of the law, compared with just 38 percent who have a favorable opinion.
The Politico article doesn't mention the Obama education policies, but let me remind you about this poll from late August:
Support for President Barack Obama’s education agenda is slipping among Americans, according to a poll released last week detailing the public’s attitude toward public schooling.
The survey, conducted by Phi Delta Kappa International and the Gallup Organization, reports that just 34 percent of those polled would give the president an A or B when grading his performance on education during his first 17 months in office, compared with 45 percent in last year’s poll, which covered the president’s first six months in office. ("Obama School Ideas Getting Good Grades," Sept. 2, 2009.) The president’s grades fell not just among Republicans surveyed, but also among Democrats and Independents, who increasingly gave Mr. Obama grades of C or lower.
Poll respondents, for example, took a decidedly different tack than the president and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on turning around low-performing schools. When asked what was the best solution, 54 percent said the school should remain open with the existing teachers and principal and receive outside support.
The president’s lower numbers on education mirror the overall decline in his approval rating, said Shane Lopez, a senior scientist in residence at Gallup and the co-director of the poll. Mr. Obama’s present overall approval rating is 44 percent, compared with 52 percent at this time last year, Mr. Lopez said.
“Despite all of the time and attention that has been devoted to school improvement over the past year and a half, we haven’t won over the hearts and minds of the American people,” said Patrick R. Riccards, the chief executive officer of Exemplar Strategic Communications, a Virginia-based communications firm and the author of the education blog Eduflack. “They aren’t feeling the impact of the stimulus. They aren’t seeing the role of the federal government in school reform.”
To the contrary, they ARE seeing the role of the Obama administration in terms of policies - lots of schools are being closed, teachers and principals are being fired, and teacher evaluations are tied to test scores in many states as a result of the Obama administration policies.
What Americans AREN'T seeing is how all that money Obama has spent on education - over $14.3 billion dollars between the teacher jobs bill and the Race to the Top money - has been used to improve schools, lower class sizes, buy books and computers and otherwise enrich the lives of students.
And that's because the overwhelming majority of the money hasn't been used for those things.
In fact, most of the ed money Obama has spent hasn't gone to schools.
It has gone to testing companies, computer data companies, foundations and cronies of the ed reform movement.
So to the Politico assertion that it is Obama's policies, especially on health care and the economy, that people do not like, I would add people do NOT like his education policies either.
We'll see if Waiting for Superman, Oprah and the NBC Education Summit change those numbers.
Right now, per the latest WSJ/NBC poll, people think schools are bad, but they like THEIR schools.
This suggests to me that the hype over bad schools and bad teachers is working on the meta level but when people actually have contact with schools and teachers, they feel differently about the issues.
Which means the hype about an "education crisis" is overblown.
After all, many Americans think the schools and teachers they see with their own eyes in their own communities are working just fine.
In fact, they don't blame teachers for the problems AT ALL.
In the WSJ/NBC poll taken last week, 53% say elected officials are the cause of problems in education, 50% says parents are the cause, only 30% say teachers are the problem.
So people SEE that teachers aren't the main problem in education.
Unfortunately Obama doesn't seem to care about any of this.
He has decided that busting the unions, turning public schools into charters, making the school year 210 days or longer (and the school day 8 hours or longer), and forcing kids to take standardized tests in every class at every level at least twice a year in order to evaluate teachers according to those scores are the policies he is going to promote.
These are policies which the NBC/WSJ poll shows have little support compared to the more traditional lower class size/give teachers and schools support policies (indeed 64% say smaller class sizes would do much to improve education while only 30% say merit pay would.)
The Obama policies are, as Diane Ravitch has noted, disastrous policies.
But perhaps that is the point.
Secretary Arne has said Hurricane Katrina was the best thing that ever happened to New Orleans schools kids.
Apparently the Obama administration is looking to take the Katrina disaster national.
And the scary thing - despite 42% approval and only 38% saying he deserves re-election, he is getting his way COMPLETELY on his education "reforms."