Congress won’t be the only crowd Obama has to win over on Thursday night.
Several polls released on Monday by major media organizations reveal that, for the first time, the majority of Americans disapprove of the president. A Wall Street Journal/ NBC News poll taken during the last week of August found only 44 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s job performance. And for the first time since his inauguration, more than half—51 percent—disapprove of the president.
Further data darkens the story. Out of 1,500 adults telephoned by Gallup from Sept. 1-3, only 42 percent gave the president their approval. A Washington Post/ ABC News poll found 60 percent of Americans disapprove of the way the president is handling the economy, another record low, and a Politico/George Washington University poll found 72 percent of Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, a jump of 12 percentage points since May.
The poor numbers are undoubtedly a reaction to the stalled labor market, which was substantiated by Friday’s report that the economy added zero jobs in August. Obama will detail his jobs plan before a joint session of Congress on Thursday to show he is serious about confronting the problem. An even hotter fire to create jobs is burning under Congress: 82 percent of those polled by The Wall Street Journal and NBC disapprove of the way Congress is handling the economy.
And the president shares their frustration: “Labor is on board, business is on board, we just need Congress to get on board, ” Obama said at a Labor Day rally in Detroit. Thursday's presidential address on Capitol Hill will be televised at 7 p.m. EDT.