July 20, 2009 2:00PM

Obama’s New Numbers

A new ABC/​Washington Post poll is out. The trends are not comforting for the White House. President Obama’s approval rating — probably the most important number for a president these days — continues to drop. Approval by independents has fallen by 9 points over his term. Support for his handling of the economy now garners the approval of barely half of respondents. The number of people who see him as an “old‐​style tax and spend” Democrat has risen by 11 percentage points; the number who see him as a new Democrat “careful with public money” has dropped by about the same number.

A majority of the public now rejects a second spending splurge. Most now give avoiding deficits a higher priority than increasing spending, even to fight the recession.

The number of people in the poll identifying themselves as independents is at a post‐​1981 high. Most of those people may well vote most of the time for one of the major parties. For now, neither party is attracting much loyalty.

Surely some Democrats in Congress must be starting to wonder how far they should follow the president and his desire for ever greater spending.