A recent Rasmussen poll shows President Barack Obama’s approval rating numbers leave a lot to be desired. The numbers from the Rasmussen Daily Tracking poll as of August 27 are:
Strongly Approve: 21%
Strongly Disapprove: 41%
Total Approve: 46%
Total Disapprove: 53%
If you follow that link above and scan down the daily numbers, you will see that Obama’s approval numbers have remained relatively unchanged for months.
Since he is not up for election again, what difference could his approval numbers possibly make to anyone now?
For starters, any time there is an election, the party that is not currently in the White House seeks to tie their opponents in some way to the sitting president. This is especially true if is approval numbers are poor. But even if he is a popular president, that tactic can at least be used to fire up their own base.
This is holding true again in the mid-term election battle in Kentucky, where Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is fighting once again to hold on to his seat, this time against Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes. McConnell’s ads often seek to paint Grimes as “Obama’s candidate”.
Kentucky is a curious mixture in politics. They have long had Democratic governors, but have not voted blue in a presidential race since Bill Clinton, whom they went for both times.
A recent Real Clear Politics article explains how the numbers of the races rely heavily on the president’s approval ratings, even in the president us not up for reelection.
“[I]n the 31 competitive Senate races held in 2010 and 2012, the Democratic candidate has run within five points of the president’s job approval in 23 of them (75 percent),” wrote Sean Trende. "Additionally, no Democratic candidate in a competitive race has run more than 10 points ahead of the president’s job approval (or behind it).”