President takes pounding in new Field Poll

As the Associated Press reports, “a Field Poll released Wednesday shows support for President Barack Obama is falling even in reliably Democratic California, where the shaky economy and persistently high unemployment have created pessimism about the future.”

As Field put it, the current proportion approving of his performance (46 percent) is now only slightly greater than the proportion disapproving (44 percent), which is a big change from three months ago when Californians approved of the job he was doing 54 percent to 37 percent. Also, those who are inclined to re-elect President Obama outnumber those not inclined by just five points (49 percent to 44 percent).

Although the overall personal regard that Californians have of the President remains quite positive – with 55 percent viewing him in a generally favorable light and 41 percent holding a negative impression – that’s an extremely partisan number. Democrats view him positively by a five-to-one margin, while Republicans see him negatively four-to-one; independent voters tend to see him favorably by a five-to-three margin.

Given the state’s current voter registration – 44 percent Democratic, almost 31 percent Republican and 20.4 percent decline-to-state – this doesn’t exactly make California a prime battleground state in next year’s general election. The numbers beg the question of whether more Californians upset with Obama are angry about what he has done, or about what he hasn’t; that in turn begs the question of how hard it’ll be to mobilize voters in 2012, and what it’ll mean for newly redistricted Democrats trying to ride the President’s coattails.

Note that this poll didn’t pit Obama against any of the potential Republican challengers; I’ll be curious to see such a survey of Californians.

Still, California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro sees blood in the water.

“The drop in Obama’s polls numbers in California is a direct result of the poor economic performance of Obama’s and Jerry Brown’s policies,” he said in a statement e-mailed late this afternoon. “Rather than funding more government programs, both need to restore confidence and incentives to the private sector. It’s a simple formula for success that neither seems to appreciate.”

This Field Poll was conducted Sept. 1-12 among a random sample of 1,001 registered voters in California; it has a 3.2-percentage-point margin of error.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    Now would be a great time to amnesty illegal immigrants !

  • lars54

    I don’t see Rick Perry winning in California, or Michelle Bachman. Romney would have a better chance, but he’s a former CEO – that’s death knell for a candidate in California, just ask Whitman and Fiorna. Californian’s won’t vote for a CEO type, these guys (and gals) don’t pay their fair share of taxes – according to Warren Buffet – ship jobs overseas, and they fly around on private jets, wasting fuel and increasing global warming. So I see Obama easily winning California.

  • John W

    Lars54, I think you are engaging in wishful thinking. And I say that as somebody who contributed the statutory max to Obama for both the primary and general election campaigns and who plans to vote for him again. I think Obama could very easily lose to either Perry or Romney in California, not to mention in all the usual battleground states. I think we’re looking at a GOP White House, a GOP filibuster proof majority in the Senate and continued control of the House. The Republicans have sat on most of Obama’s federal district and appeals court appointments, so they’ll have loads of judgeships to fill as well, and nobody to slow them down.

  • Elwood

    “they fly around on private jets, wasting fuel and increasing global warming”

    You mean like Al Gore?

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    If Al Gore and Jimmy Carter could be persuaded to campaign here for BHO, the GOP would have a chance to carry Calif.

  • Elwood

    “Widening the probe into Solyndra’s collapse, House Republicans at a hearing Wednesday released emails showing that White House aides pressured budget officials to finalize a decision on a $535 million loan guarantee to the solar panel maker because they were eager to have Vice President Joe Biden announce the news at Solyndra’s 2009 groundbreaking ceremony in Fremont.”


    Toward the end of the evil Bush administration they tried to kill this monster but then the O’bummers saw the political potential in it.

  • Elwood

    “Treasury probes $528M loan to bankrupt solar firm”

    WASHINGTON (AP) – The Treasury Department’s inspector general has opened an investigation of a $528 million government loan to Solyndra Inc., the now-bankrupt solar panel manufacturer once cited as a model of the Obama administration’s clean energy program.


  • Elwood

    Re: #6 & 7

    The more you stir it, the more it stinks.

  • John W

    I’ve sort of changed my mind about the Upton committee inquiry. In the beginning, I figured it would be the usual witch hunt by Repubs who still haven’t got over Watergate. The public is entitled to a full understanding of what did or didn’t happen, and, so far at least, the committee seems to be proceeding in a responsible manner; by D.C. standards at least.

  • Elwood


    “The Biden speech was given via satellite link. Nonetheless, Carney continued to stress that White House e-mails promoting the loan were for scheduling reasons.

    “Again, if you look at the e-mails, the issue that involved the vice president having this event did not drive the loan process,” Carney said. “The loan guarantee was …as a result of a merit-based process by career professionals at DOE. The same process has been in place for all of these green investments.”

    Solyndra first applied for the DOE loan in December 2006. As the application worked its way through the process, the department’s Credit Committee – made up of career federal employees, not political appointees – sent the proposal back to department staff on Jan. 9, 2009 (just before George W. Bush left office, saying, “the number of issues unresolved at this time makes a recommendation for approval premature at this time.”

    On Jan. 26, 2009 – six days after Obama’s inauguration – an email from Energy Department staff said, “We are approaching the beginning of the approval process for Solyndra again.” On March 12 of that year, a second Credit Committee meeting delivered a unanimous vote for the company’s loan application.”


  • John W

    It seems that what we have here is an administration with a single-minded commitment to pursuing a specific agenda and ignoring data and analysis from career staff that called into question the rationale and wisdom of that agenda.

    But enough about Iraq…

  • Elwood

    @ #11

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  • Truthclubber

    Re: @ #12 e-puking on @ #11

    Yo, yo, Hellwoody —

    Nobody died needlessly from DOE loan guarantees, you fascist.

    Crawl back into your slime fox(news)hole for the evening.

    We’re not buying your eighth grade debate tactic of “when you can’t attack the message, attack the messenger” BS no matter how much Karl Rove says to “sling it!”

    P.S. Expect from Hellwoody (aka Elwood) a flaming ad-hominem (aka personal) attack on me and complete ignorance of the message I am conveying — that “Obama’s pursuit of green jobs at all cost has not killed people the way Bush Jr.’s (aka Shrub’s) pursuit of Saddam Hussein at all costs killed thousands needlessly” — which is why Hellwoody is a corporatist tool — aka fascist.

  • Truthclubber

    @ #13 — “this blog is alive, with the sound of crickets, those marvelous crickets, filling all the air…”

    (Sorry, Julie Andrews, it was the best I could do on such late notice.)

  • Truthclubber

    As a final challenge (for this evening) to @ #12, I thought I would share this little ditty, since there are SOOOOO many crickets (of silence) coming from his keyboard right now — and I am not surprised!

    “And in the naked light I saw
    Ten thousand liars, maybe more
    Bloggers typing without speaking
    Readers reading without thinking
    Fascists writing songs that liberals never share
    But no one dared
    Disturb the sound of Hellwood”

    (I suspect that Simon and Garfunkel would not mind…)

  • Elwood

    Your insanity screams from your every post.

  • Elwood


    “WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration restructured a half-billion dollar federal loan to a troubled solar energy company in such a way that private investors — including a fundraiser for President Barack Obama — moved ahead of taxpayers for repayment in case of a default, government records show.

    Administration officials defended the loan restructuring, saying that without an infusion of cash earlier this year, solar panel maker Solyndra Inc. would likely have faced immediate bankruptcy, putting more than 1,000 people out of work.”

    Hell, isn’t that what happened anyway?

    Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2011/09/16/white-house-wary-of-solyndra-re-election-effects/#ixzz1YBXjiZbX

  • Truthclubber

    @ #16 —

    God, I love how predictable and easily torqued-off you are:

    From # 13 above: “P.S. Expect from Hellwoody (aka Elwood) a flaming ad-hominem (aka personal) attack on me and complete ignorance of the message I am conveying…”

    Yo, yo, Hellwoody — no one died in vain as a result of Obama’s obsession with green jobs — unlike your and Shrub’s obsession with “weapons of mass distraction”.

  • Elwood

    Three things you can count on:

    Death, taxes and every weekend toothsucker will ingest mind altering substances and post insane rants.

    And yes, your insanity screams from your every post.

  • Elwood

    Drawing heavily on his Kenyan background, O’bummer threatened that he would turn any member of Congress who voted against his jobs bill into a goat.


  • John W

    Methinks Elwood is suffering from SOS — Solyndra Obsession Syndrome.

  • Elwood

    @ #21

    Not really. I just enjoy pointing out what a bunch of venal ****heads the O’bummers are.

    And I’d like to have my $528 million back.

  • Truthclubber

    @ #19 —

    Calling me “insane” doesn’t make your argument correct — it merely shows how juvenile you are when it comes to honest debate, since you refuse to debate the argument, and would rather just “pee on the argumenter” like a twelve year old would.

    You are afraid to debate me on the factual substance of arguments — and BOTH of us know that.

  • Elwood

    @ #23

    Sorry, I don’t debate insane people.

    And you wouldn’t know a fact if somebody smacked you upside the head with it.

    Why is it that you show up here every weekend in an impaired state when you promised to leave and never come back?

  • John W

    Re: 22

    Maybe you could try writing it off as a capital loss on your 2011 tax return and see how the IRS responds.

    Let’s see. If you figure there are roughly 160 million tax filers, of whom 80 million pay income tax, and assuming you are one of the 80 million, I make your share at $6.60. If you’re in the 28% bracket, that’ll save you $1.85.

  • Elwood

    OK, John, I can’t compete with your flawless logic.

    I’ll settle for $1.85.

    And a new president on 1/20/13.

  • John W

    Re: 26 “And a new president…”

    That, I regret to say, appears to be a distinct possibility, along with a filibuster-proof Senate.

  • For Liberty

    Is there any difference between Obama, Perry or Romney?

    Based upon their records of constitutional compromises, I don’t think so.

    Go ahead guys and continue your argument about the same OLD thing (Obama, Perry or Romney), because when it comes to your liberties and mine, it really isn’t going to matter which one of these candidates gets elected.

  • For Liberty

    Is there any difference between Obama, Perry or Romney?

    Based upon their records of constitutional compromises, I don’t think so.

    Go ahead guys and continue your argument about the same OLD thing (Obama, Perry or Romney), because when it comes to your liberties and mine, it really isn’t going to matter which one of these candidates gets elected.

  • Elwood


    “WASHINGTON (AP) – In a blunt rejoinder to congressional Republicans, President Barack Obama called for $1.5 trillion in new taxes Monday, part of a total 10-year deficit reduction package totaling more than $3 trillion. He vowed to veto any deficit reduction package that cuts benefits to Medicare recipients but does not raise taxes on the wealthy and big corporations.”

    WASHINGTON (AP) – In a blunt rejoinder to congressional Republicans, President Barack Obama called for $1.5 trillion in new taxes Monday, part of a total 10-year deficit reduction package totaling more than $3 trillion. He vowed to veto any deficit reduction package that cuts benefits to Medicare recipients but does not raise taxes on the wealthy and big corporations.”

    Tax the rich! Pander to your entitlement constituency! Election is only 14 months away! What a chowderhead!


  • Elwood

    So good I posted it twice! Oops!

  • John W

    Re: 29 “is there any difference between Obama, Perry or Romney?”

    From your perspective, apparently not. So, perhaps you could clue us into who would be the guardian of liberty that the country would cheerfully embrace come 1/20/13.

  • Elwood


    “President Obama’s smooth path to the Democratic nomination may have gotten rockier Monday, after a group of liberal leaders, including former presidential candidate Ralph Nader, announced plans to challenge the incumbent in primaries next year.

    The group said the goal is to offer up a handful of candidates from various fields and areas where the president either has failed to stake out a “progressive” position or where he has “drifted toward the corporatist right.”

    Poor O’bummer! He can’t catch a break!


  • Hamburger add:
    Where are the jobs, as in “WHERE’S THE BEEF”.Not where’s the stimulus money.

  • Elwood


    ““When you remove the accounting tricks and Washington gimmicks from the president’s plan you’re left with only half of the $3 trillion in deficit reduction the White House promised,” Sessions said in a release. “The White House also claims the president’s plan is $2 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax hikes. But in truth, the president’s deficit reduction comes entirely from tax hikes. Total federal spending, including the stimulus, will increase under the president’s plan, not decrease.”

    Senate Budget Committee Republicans contend Obama’s plan would never reduce deficit spending and grow the country’s gross debt by $9.7 trillion dollars over 10 years.” –Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)

    Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2011/09/19/senate-republicans-challenge-obamas-math/#ixzz1YSR6mMv2

  • Elwood


    “The vast majority of millionaires pay a 35 percent current tax rate on personal income from salaries, bonuses and small-business income. Their effective tax rate is around 30 percent, much higher than the roughly 20 percent effective rate for the so-called middle class (depending, of course, on how you define the middle class).” –Larry Kudlow

    Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2011/09/19/obamas-bizarre-tax-attack/#ixzz1YSTEUX4G

  • John W

    Re: #36

    If we’re talking about upper management executives, these statistics overlook executive deferred compensation plans. If we’re talking about business owners, we’re overlooking those who set their salaries just high enough to pass the IRS smell test and receive most of their compensation in the form of dividends taxed at 15%.

    The executive deferred comp plans are never mentioned in the tax debates, because the pols don’t even know about them. However, BusinessWeek ran a detailed story on the subject about a year ago.

    Here’s how a typical plan works. Most employees can contribute, say, 6-10 percent of their pay to a 401k plan and maybe get a 3% company match. Contributions are capped by the government at $15k or so.

    In the executive deferred comp plans, eligible execs would be allowed to contribute 50% or more of their pay. In the company I formerly worked for, the plan was open only to people with a base salary of at least $200k. That’s a few years ago, so the entry point is probably higher now. Somebody making $200k probably wouldn’t put anything like 50% into the plan. But an exec making a million or more would. The exec has to pay the 1.45% Medicare payroll tax but no income tax until the money is withdrawn. While the money remains in the plan, the company pays interest way above the market. In 2003, when the market for 10 year Treasuries was about 4%. The exec def comp plan at the company where I worked payed 12% interest, more than enough to cover normal interest plus any taxes that would eventually be paid on the deferred comp. CEO’s and top tier execs typically have sophisticated estate plans that would enable them to defer taxes indefinitely. In other words, if they play their cards right, their effective tax rate on that portion of income is basically zero.

    The tax savings advantage of the def comp plans is much greater than itemized deductions that the exec would normally take for mortgage interest etc. When they say the effective rate is around 30%, they are including only the currently taxed portion of the compensation. If an exec puts 50% into the plan, the effective rate would be more like 15%.

    Only downside to these plans is that the execs are last in line for getting their money if the company goes bankrupt. So it only makes sense to participate if you have a high degree of confidence in the company’s long-term solvency.

  • Elwood

    I guess you’re the only one who gets it, John.

    FACT CHECK: Are rich taxed less than secretaries?

    “WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama says he wants to make sure millionaires are taxed at higher rates than their secretaries. The data say they already are.”


  • John W

    Re: #38

    All those comparisons are meaningless, because they are based on effective tax rates as a percentage of Adjusted Gross Income. AGI is after “above the line” payroll deductions for health insurance and, more significantly, contributions to 401k’s or the deferred comp plans I mentioned. For very highly compensated people, those deferred comp plans exclude a lot more income from taxation than itemized deductions. As I already described, the deferred comp plans really distort the effective tax rate analysis. If it were up to me, traditional 401k’s would be eliminated in favor of Roth plans, so that the amount contributed would be part of an employee’s taxable income, but the income earned on that money would never be taxable. We should get rid of (phase out) all exclusions, both “above the line” and “below the line,” and recalibrate the tax rates according to the broader tax base. It’s not only fair but good economics.

  • Elwood

    “I guess you’re the only one who gets it, John.”

    All the accumulated media punditry just doesn’t get it.

    Perhaps you could explain it to them.

  • For Liberty

    RE #32


    My guess is Obama, however he is far from being a guardian of liberty!