Jonathan Ernst/REUTERS
President Barack Obama pauses while delivering remarks on the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, at an Organizing for Action grassroots supporter event in Washington, November 4, 2013.

Obamacare woes: Hurting Obama in other areas as well?

The disastrous roll-out of the Affordable Care Act is to blame for plummeting polls on Obamacare. But that voter gloominess may be impacting the President’s standing on other issues too.

Controversy over the Affordable Care Act continues to rain on President Obama’s personal parade … or drip, drip, drip like political water torture.

A Pew Research poll out Friday has Obama’s job approval rating on health care policy sliding downward ever since his second term began (when it wasn’t that great to begin with): from 45-47 percent approve/disapprove in January, to 41-53 in September, to 37-59 today.

The disastrous roll-out of Obamacare is to blame, of course. But that voter gloominess may well be impacting the President’s political report card in other areas as well.

Pew finds his overall approval rating down to 41-53, a virtual reversal from January (52-40). On the economy, it’s down to 31-65 approve/disapprove; immigration 32/60; foreign policy 34/66. Only on the threat of terrorism is Obama in positive territory (51-44).

“While Obama’s overall marks have changed little over the past month, the 12-point difference between disapproval and approval is the largest of his presidency,” Pew reports.

While Democrats are more likely to back the politically beleaguered president (78 percent approval) and Republicans never liked him in the first place (10 percent approval), the most troubling news for the administration is among unaffiliated voters, Pew finds:

“Since December 2012, Obama has lost the most ground among independents: Currently, only 32 percent of independents approve of his job performance while 61 percent disapprove. In December, 53 percent approved and 39 percent disapproved.”

In his NBC News interview this week, the President joined the line of administration officials personally apologizing for the major problems Americans have had trying to sign up for health care insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Not surprisingly, “Sorry” is not enough for the GOP.

“This is what betrayal looks like,” says Rep. Todd Young (R) of Indiana, Saturday’s designated political hitter.

“Here you have hardworking people who were repeatedly told not to worry, that their coverage would stay the same and – if anything – their costs would go down,” Rep. Young said in the Republican weekly radio/Internet address. “Just the opposite is happening. Adding insult to injury, the White House – the president – isn’t leveling with us. He’s trying to cover his tracks, claiming he never really made these promises.”

Obama may take some small comfort from a USC Dornsife/LA Times Poll of Californian voters out Saturday.

Fifty percent favor the Affordable Care Act, including 33 percent who strongly favor it – which is better than the latest Real Clear Politics polling average showing 51-42 percent disapproval.

But even those who support the Affordable Care Act had significant concerns, including lost wages and higher out-of-pocket costs, the new poll in California reports. More than 1 in 3 voters said they had personally experienced losing health insurance coverage since the passage of the health care law, either directly or through a family member or close friend. More than half – 57 percent – of voters said insurance premiums had increased for themselves or someone they know. Another 24 percent of voters said they or someone they know had experienced reduced wages due to the health care law.

“The problem from a political perspective is this is called the Affordable Care Act, and voters say it’s not coming across as affordable. That creates a concern about its credibility,” said David Kanevsky, Research Director for Republican polling firm American Viewpoint, which conducted the poll with Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner on behalf of USC and the Los Angeles Times. “If people think you broke the system, it’s very hard to make the electoral argument to let you fix the system they think you broke.”

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