Here are Obama’s Gallup Poll approval ratings every week since his Inauguration:
Black support for the black President remains almost rock solid, standing at 89 percent through the week ending July 11, 2010—slightly higher than in his first week in office.
But Obama’s approval rating among whites is now only 38 percent—51 points below the black level. The white approval rating has fallen 25 points since January 2009.
It’s important to note that the white approval rating was as high as 60 percent as late as the week of May 10, 2009. The subsequent sharp fall-off is usually blamed on the economy.
But an alternative explanation is that white disenchantment with Obama appears to have set in during the warm weather months of 2009—about the time of Obama’s nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court (May 26, 2009); the Supreme Court’s rebuke of Sotomayor’s ruling in the Ricci case (June 29, 2009); and the hilarious damage-controlling “Beer Summit” featuring Professor Henry Louis Gates and an Obama-dissed Cambridge, MA police officer, James Crowley (July 22-30, 2009).
Since the end of summer 2009, Obama’s staffers, such as the cynical Chicagoan Rahm Emanuel, have worked diligently to keep their boss from alarming whites with obvious racial gaffes—as when he responded frankly to the Henry Louis Gates question at one of his rare press conferences. Obama’s rating among whites has continued to trickle downward, but at a less catastrophic rate.
On the other hand, his staff’s perceived need to prevent “Obama from being Obama” has likely contributed to Obama’s current guarded, depressive affect. For a man proclaimed an inspirational political genius in 2008, he strikes many people in 2010 as a downer, a bit of a buzzkill.
And Obama’s allies continue to provoke racial squabbles. For example, the NAACP is trying to “concern troll” [=undermine] the Tea Party movement into dropping all that stuff about endless deficits in order to conduct purges of purported racists in its ranks. And the public is just waking up to the fact that Congresswoman Maxine Waters has larded the new financial reform bill with racial quotas.
Hispanics’ feelings toward Obama lie in between those of blacks and whites, as is so common in American racial patterns. The President’s Hispanic ratings have fallen roughly in parallel with white opinion, with the big drop starting a little later in 2009. This also follows a long tradition: Hispanic voters generally follow changes in white opinion, just more erratically, while staying significantly to the left of whites for perfectly understandable reasons of self-interest: they are much more enthusiastic about racial / ethnic preferences and tax-and-spend policies from which they hope to benefit at white expense.
Over the last decade, the Main Stream Media has carried countless credulous articles about the Hispanic vote. Most are based on self-serving talking points fed to journalists by so-called Hispanic leaders.
But there is a dirty little secret in all this: Hispanic voters seldom pay much attention to whatever the press proclaims to be their burning issues, such as Sotomayor or Arizona’s SB1070.
For example, Hispanic warmth toward Obama hit its peak (85 percent) a few weeks before he nominated Sonia Sotomayor on May 26, 2009. By August, he was down in the 60s with Hispanics.
Similarly, in the weeks before Obama went to war against the citizens of Arizona in late April 2010 over SB1070, his Hispanic approval rating had been in the 60s. Now, it’s at 55.
The fact is that Hispanics, on average, don’t pay all that much attention to the news. They tend to be younger, less literate, less interested in America, and less interested in public affairs in general.
The decline of the Los Angeles Times would be a sad reminder of this—it has long tried to compete with the New York Times for the title of the Most Serious Newspaper in the country, but its circulation area has become increasingly Hispanic—if the paper hadn’t been such an enthusiastic backer of the cause of its own destruction.
The conventional wisdom that says that the GOP must submit to the rising tide of Latinos. I have repeatedly argued that this is simply overblown. Despite their numbers, Hispanics are not the most formidable challenge any political party has ever confronted. They don’t have terribly charismatic leaders, they don’t have a determined and focused rank and file, and they don’t have much of a claim on the conscience of America. Their main political advantage so far has been that they’ve bored whites and blacks into inattention regarding illegal immigration.