If you believe, as I do, that people tend to watch what they enjoy, than last week was President Obama's worst week ever. Judging from the ratings, over the last two weeks the President has disappointed his supporters and energized his opponents.
Last week's ratings (again, thanks to Cynopsis), show that FoxNews had considerably more total viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined, both in primetime and in total day. FoxNews won ever single demographic category from 18-34 to 25-54, again in primetime and total day. Judging by last week, conservatives turned out in droves to watch Fox, while liberals abandoned CNN and MSNBC.
I'm not going to pretend that cable news viewing is an exact measure of political popularity, but two weeks ago (inauguration week), FoxNews and CNN were neck in neck in total viewing, and CNN beat FoxNews in every demographic category. Last week, FoxNews pulled ahead, but still lost a couple of demographic categories. This week was a complete sweep for Fox.
If news viewing ratings are relevant to political popularity, then the President's popularity has declined considerably, particularly this week. In short, I think he's lost the initiative. If he wants to put the bloom back on the rose, he'd better show the same fresh approach, the same fighting spirit that won him the Presidency.
This week's appearance in Elkhart and Monday's press conference might have been steps in the right direction, but Secretary of the Treasury Geithner's presentation on Tuesday was at least one step backward. If I were CNN or MSNBC, I'd be worrying about my next week's ratings.