Submerged Liberal Unhappiness

Scanning the new ABC/WaPo poll for something unexpected, I did run across an item that made me say “Huh!”

Considering that the entire Republican presidential nominating contest has basically been an extended discussion of conservatives’ relative degree of unhappiness about Mitt Romney’s ideological reliability, it’s not surprising that 13% of poll respondents say his views on the issues are “too liberal” for their tastes (as compared to 33% who say they are “too conservative,” 42% who say they are “about right,” and 12% who have no opinion).

But when the same question is asked of Obama, he hits double digits himself in terms of the percentage of all Americans considering his views “too conservative” (10%), while 40% say he’s “too liberal,” 44% “about right,” and a mere 6% having no opinion.

Obama’s “too conservative” number is at an all-time high dating back to the first time they asked this question in early 2008. Just prior to the 2008 election, it was at 3%. The “too liberal” number has ranged from a low of 29% around the time of the Inauguration to a high of 45% in September of 2010, but has mostly bounced around the high 30s.

Considering that Obama’s current job approval rating (from Gallup) among self-identified liberals is at 80%, and among liberal Democrats is 87%, I’d say he’s done a lot better job attracting support from people who wish he was more ideologically sound than has Romney so far.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.