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Obama's support among blacks slips unexpectedly, Hispanics too

April 7, 2011 |  3:38 am

Obama campaigns among crowd of admirers in Philadelphia 4-6-11

Barack Obama rode to a comfortable presidential election win in 2008 on the electoral wings of a coalition based on liberal whites, independents and blacks, especially blacks.

Obama lost much of his independent support during the endless debate on his overreaching healthcare plan, when his laser focus on that legislation attracted blame for the stubbornly high unemployment numbers and rate.

Some liberals expressed impatience with Obama over his delay in repealing "don't ask, don't tell," reneging on his Guantanamo closure promise, doubling down on American military involvement in Afghanistan and, most recently, getting involved in combat over Libya. But where else can those liberals look?

However, this morning comes the most troubling political news for Obama's four-day-old reelection campaign:

His job approval among blacks is sliding.

Once monolithic, blacks' support for the first African American president is still....

....immense. But for unclear reasons it's declined about 7% from well above 90% to 85% in March. That's a new low since Obama's inauguration 26 months ago.

Equally ominous for Obama in 2012, his approval among Hispanics, the nation's fastest-growing demographic, has also fallen to again tie his term low of 54%. That's a drop of 11 points from its early high of 65%.

Gallup seems puzzled by the unexpected decline, mentioning March's major news as possible reasons: the ongoing fight with Congress over no fiscal 2011 federal budget and Obama leading the country into a new military combat zone over Libya.Obama in Philadelphia 4-6-11

As we reported here Wednesday, other polls found approval of Obama's national security performance declined after he explained his rationale for Libya. While the unemployment rate has slipped slightly, millions remain out of work. Real estate has not rebounded. And consumer confidence is weak.

No one expects Obama's overall support among blacks to crater, though there is concern in his camp about rekindling the pioneering excitement and turnout of the 2008 election.

His billion-dollar campaign is already recruiting an army of community organizers for training this summer to carry his "movement forward for years to come."

But any decline within the Democrat's strongest base group is ominously important because his overwhelming support in that sector of voters helps cover his crumbling support in other groups, such as Hispanics and whites, where he now has only 39% approval.

Predictably, Obama's biggest group of supporters are Democrats (80%) and liberals (74%) and the least likely are Republicans, an impressively minute 14%.

Gallup finds Obama least popular among older Americans, married people, the less educated, the more affluent and the most religiously conscientious. Women (50%) prefer him slightly more than men do (44%).

The Midwest and West (both 47%) prefer Obama less than the East (54%). But Southerners like Obama least (42%).

Related:

Yemen president gets stern warning from Obama press secretary

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Larry Downing / Reuters (Obama greets Philadelphia supporters, April 6); Michael Reynolds / EPA.

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