MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- Barack Obama’s approval rating among self-identified liberal Democrats consistently hovers in the 90-percent range, but those numbers conceal reservations that bode poorly for his 2012 reelection campaign’s ability to raise small-dollar donations and marshal the type of grassroots army that helped carry him to victory in 2008.
Asked broadly about support for the president, the overwhelming majority of liberals will answer that they approve of his job performance. Gallup, for instance, breaks out their daily tracking by subgroup once a week and finds liberal Democratic support of Obama averaging out to 86 percent. It peaked at 94 percent in early 2009 and stands at 87 percent as of this writing. But it’s the strength of that support that translates – or doesn’t – into the kind of help Obama's reelection campaign wants and needs.
Gallup doesn’t break the support down by intensity, but the Democratic polling firm Democracy Corps last month found that of the 92 percent of liberal Democrats who back Obama, 64 percent strongly approve and 28 percent are only somewhat supportive. If that 28 percent is comprised largely of the most active Democrats, his base will be less likely to go out and work for him.
At Netroots Nation last week, a gathering of progressive bloggers and activists, a similar survey found strong support for Obama -- 80 percent -- but with 53 percent only "somewhat" backing the president.
HuffPost set up a camera and asked as many people at the conference about Obama as we could find. The result was a remarkably consistent critique of the president.
Clarification: An earlier version of this report identified the poll respondents simply as liberals, when they in fact self-identified specifically as liberal Democrats.