Sagging polls, infighting: trouble for Obama

President Barack Obama used to command sky-high approval ratings from Americans in the polls.

No more.

The President’s job approval rating is down to 55 percent — below the two-thirds popularity enjoyed by former Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush at the end of their first six months in office.

Both Carter and the elder Bush were one-term Presidents.

Obama’s inability to deal effectively with the many problems affecting the nation, along with growing dissatisfaction not only among rank-and-file Americans but also within his own party, signals trouble for the young, inexperienced President.

Democratic sources tell Capitol Hill Blue that party insiders are nervous and worried about loss of Congressional seats in the 2010 mid-term elections.

"Six months ago, we felt the mid-term elections would increase our party’s majorities in both the House and Senate," says one Democratic strategist, who asked not to be identified. "Now, some are worried about holding on to the majority in the Senate and we’re looking at possible GOP gains in the House."

The party in control of the White House routinely loses seats in Congress during the mid-term elections. Republicans seized control of Congress in the 1994 mid-term elections during former President Bill Clinton’s first term.

Clinton rebounded and won a second term but Democratic insiders say privately that Barack Obama is no Bill Clinton.

"Obama gives a great speech but he doesn’t have Clinton’s savvy in the trenches," says a Democratic consultant. "He’s no Bill Clinton."

Moderate Democrats increasingly look for ways to distance themselves from Obama’s big-spending policies, fearing a public backlash when the bill for his expensive programs come due.

For some Democrats, gallows humor is emerging.

"I was going to mention the Titanic," says Sen. Chris Dodd, "but I thought that might be a bad analogy."

A growing number of Democrats admit privately that Dodd’s analogy may be spot on.