Whatever the deteriorating economy could not achieve (courtesy of Ben Bernanke's relentless bubble blowing and pumping of the S&P 500-driven "wealth effect" distraction) for the past four years, one NSA whistleblower succeeded in a few short days, when earlier today, CNN - hardly a media known for its criticism of the administration - released a new poll according to which not only did Obama's approval rating drop by 8% in the past month, "one of the sharpest, fastest plunges in his presidency" to 45% from 53% (the first time the majority had a negative opinion of the president), not only did the majority find Obama to not be honest and trustworthy for the first time ever in his presidency, but Obama's support with one of his core constituencies - young Americans under 30 - imploded, plunging by 17 points. CNN adds: "That's particularly discouraging heading into 2014 because Democrats have felt they have a lock on the youth vote after the 2012 elections. "The drop in Obama's support is fueled by a dramatic 17-point decline over the past month among people under 30, who, along with black Americans, had been the most loyal part of the Obama coalition," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said."
Ted Turner's news network adds the following:
The president also dropped 10 points among independent voters, from 47 percent last month to 37 percent. Obama's disapproval among independents jumped 12 points to 61 percent. Again, more bad news for Democrats because those independents are especially important in mid-term elections in which older, more conservative Americans predominate.
The network pointed to several major scandals as evidence for the drop.
"The White House has been under siege over telephone and Internet surveillance, the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative groups, its handling of the terror attack on the U.S. consular post in Benghazi, Libya, and the Justice Department's collecting journalists' phone records as part of the government's investigation into leaks of classified information," CNN reported.
"It is clear that revelations about NSA surveillance programs have damaged Obama's standing with the public, although older controversies like the IRS matter may have begun to take their toll as well," Holland told the network.
The rest of the findings of CNN's poll:
- A slight majority disapproves of the actions of the man who leaked the NSA documents. A majority of respondents also believe Edward Snowden, who fled to Hong Kong, should be brought back to the United States and prosecuted.
- Six in 10 disapprove of how Obama is handling government surveillance of U.S. citizens. That's higher than the 52 percent who disapproved of George W. Bush on the same issue in 2006, when government surveillance was also in the headlines.
- Obama's approval rating on terrorism, although still above 50 percent, has taken a 13-point hit since mid-May.
- The president's approval rating on domestic issues like the economy, immigration and the deficit dropped by 2 to 4 points, within the poll's sampling error.
So how is Obama responding to the criticism? He is doubling down. From Politico:
President Obama defended a pair of controversial National Security Agency surveillance programs on Monday, arguing it’s a "false choice" to suggest people "have to sacrifice our freedom in order to achieve security."
With polls suggesting the controversy over the NSA programs are cutting into the president's approval rating, Obama stood by the surveillance as a tradeoff that citizens must make to remain safe.
"To say there’s a tradeoff doesn’t mean somehow that we’ve abandoned freedom," Obama told Charlie Rose, according to a transcript of the interview obtained by BuzzFeed.
The president went on to defend the NSA spying as "transparent," while defensively acknowledging that many on the left and right had compared his anti-terror policies to those of his predecessor, former President George W. Bush.
"The whole point of my concern, before I was president — because some people say, ‘Well, you know, Obama was this raving liberal before. Now he’s, you know, Dick Cheney.’ Dick Cheney sometimes says, 'Yeah, you know? He took it all lock, stock, and barrel,' ” Obama said.
Sounds about right. As for this upcoming Charlie Rose interview:
Obama leaned heavily during the interview on explanations that had already been given by the administration to justify the programs. He noted the NSA's role in disrupting a planned attack on the New York City subway system.
"The one thing people should understand about all these programs though is they have disrupted plots, not just here in the United States, but overseas as well," Obama said.
The president declined to comment on Edward Snowden, the former defense contractor who admitted to leaking details of the NSA surveillance programs.
Or just the usual, trite(sic) and true(sic) talking points.