President Obama’s approval rating has taken a plunge in the wake of recent government scandals, plummeting from 53 percent to 45 percent in less than a month. The Obama administration has been mired in several high-profile scandals recently, from Benghazi to the IRS to the latest NSA spying catastrophe, and now the President’s ratings reflect it.
President Obama’s approval rating was the result of a CNN/ORC International survey conducted from last Tuesday through Thursday. In addition to the ratings drop, Obama’s disapproval percentage rose 9 points to 54 percent in the same time period.
The majority of those upset with President Obama and his administration are young people. The 18-29 demographic decreased a whopping 17 points to 48 percent in mid-May, but his approval was initially higher. Furthermore, less than half of Americans believe the president is “honest and trustworthy”– something Obama had previously avoided in the wake of the financial crisis, the Benghazi scandal, and unpopular drone strikes.
Many conservative pundits and politicians sharply criticized President Obama’s policies after the death of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya and the IRS’ targeting of right-wing political groups’ tax exempt status, but the real drop in approval seemed to be the NSA scandal. Americans are divided on the issue– 51 percent think the NSA was “right” to analyze phone data to catch terrorists, while 52 percent believe informant Edward Snowden was wrong for revealing the practice– but young people seem to be overwhelmingly against the idea.
“Younger Americans are more likely to feel they are personally affected by the surveillance programs,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “More than half of all senior citizens, for example, think that the government has not collected their personal information, and since older Americans are less likely to use the Internet, they may be right. Among younger Americans, two-thirds believe that the federal government has gathered their personal data.”
President Obama, in response to the ongoing controversy, has had the NSA review which parts of the program can be declassified for the American people.
“Frankly, if people are making judgments just based on these slides that have been leaked, they’re not getting the complete story,” he told Charlie Rose in a PBS interview. “If you’re a U.S. person, then NSA is not listening to your phone calls, and it’s not targeting your emails, unless it’s getting an individualized court order.”
Though the President stressed that most Americans’ information will never be accessed, the fact that it’s being collected is enough to give many younger citizens pause.
“A month ago, two-thirds of younger Americans considered Obama honest- at least 10 points higher than any other age category. So maybe one reason why Obama fell so far with younger Americans is that he had farther to fall,” Holland said.