Gauging Obama’s support at Netroots Nation

One of the more notable discussions at this year’s Netroots Nation conference was when White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer sat down with Daily Kos’ Kaili Joy Gray. Pfeiffer joked about going into “the lion’s den,” but even he probably wasn’t prepared for the pushback from the left.

At times, the discussion was uncomfortably hostile — Pfeiffer was even booed at one point — and reinforced the notion that President Obama faces serious and widespread discontent among many on the left.

It also made these results unexpected.

Despite their grousing about the administration during the Netroots Nation conference, liberal activists and bloggers are relatively happy with President Barack Obama’s performance.

A straw poll conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research showed that 80 percent either approve or strongly approve of the president more than a year before voters head to the polls to decide whether he deserves a second term. The results broke down to 27 percent strongly approving of Obama and 53 percent approving “somewhat.” Thirteen percent said they “somewhat disapprove,” and 7 percent strongly disapprove of the president.

I wasn’t at the conference this year, but based solely on reports from those who were there, I wouldn’t have expected the president’s support to be nearly this high among attendees.

This is not to say that liberal discontent with Obama is a myth. Those attendees jeering Pfeiffer on Friday weren’t just kidding; they were expressing anger, frustration, and at times, pure contempt.

The question is one about numbers. GQR Research found roughly four out of five NN attendees still support the president, while Gallup shows Obama’s standing with the Democratic base a little higher than that.

For all the talk about Obama’s base abandoning him, the evidence to support this is shaky, at best. The discontent is real, but it doesn’t appear to be wide or deep, at least not at this point.