Appearing on Wednesday's NBC Today, chief White House correspondent and political director Chuck Todd reported on the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showing President Obama's poll numbers taking a nose dive and made this stunning declaration: "This
is as if the public is saying, 'Hey, buddy, your presidency is over.
You may not believe it is, but your ability to lead and convince us that
you have the right policies anymore, we're not listening.'" [Listen to the audio]
That observation was prompted by co-host Savannah Guthrie highlighting: "Let's show the poll number you call the dagger. 'Can the President lead and get the job done?' 54% say no."
In a prior question about the poll, Guthrie noted how the public was
evenly divided – 50% to 50% – on whether Obama was a competent
president. Todd replied: "And compare it to President Bush. He's
[Obama's] actually in a worse situation. The Obama administration is
seen as less competent than the Bush administration was post-Katrina."
Despite all of the devastating news for the President in the new poll, which was released Tuesday afternoon, all of the evening newscasts – including NBC Nightly News – skipped the results.
On Wednesday, only Today covered the poll, it wasn't mentioned on ABC's Good Morning America or CBS This Morning.
Guthrie wondered if Obama's unpopularity would "spell success for Republicans in the midterms." Todd tried to find a silver lining for Democrats: "Republican numbers are worse now than they were four years ago. It isn't translating. The public really is angry at both parties....So it's mildly good news for Democrats, maybe they can separate themselves from the drag that President Obama is."
Wrapping up the exchange, Todd explained another part of the poll that showed a dip in support for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election: "This is a reminder, she's not – you know, some in the media treat this as if it's a coronation. That President Clinton is an automatic in 2016. This is the voters saying no, she's not."
Here is a full transcript of the June 18 segment:
7:09 AM ET
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Well, as President Obama weighs his decision here, Dick and Liz Cheney are out with a new op-ed this morning blasting the Obama administration's positions during wartime, saying, quote, "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many."
We also have a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll out this morning. And for that we turn to Chuck Todd, NBC's chief White House correspondent and political director. And Chuck, I know you've got some information about what options the President is considering with regard to Iraq.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: President's Next Move on Iraq; Meets Congressional Leaders to Discuss Options]
CHUCK TODD: Well, there's one option that's off the table at this point, and that is air strikes, and here's why. They just don't have the targets. This is not a big army that you're going after in ISIS. This is more like targeting Al Qaeda in Yemen, which means this is going to mean special forces. This is going to mean drones, very tactical strikes. There's no way they can somehow bring in fighter jets.
GUTHRIE: Let's get to NBC's poll, because foreign policy, which for many, many years was a strong suit of the President's in your polls, is now suddenly tanking.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: The President and the Polls; Dip in Ratings on Leadership]
TODD: It is. It's cratering. I mean, if you think about it, let's go back to September, Syria. Then you have the crisis in Ukraine and then you had the situation with the Bergdahl trade, then we can talk about the Iranian negotiations, we can talk about the Middle East flaring up, and now the situation with Iraq. Everything is a negative, and these are now creating a situation, lowest ever, lowest job rating, lowest approval rating among foreign policy.
GUTHRIE: Let's show competence, that says the President – people who think the President is competent, fifty [percent], incompetent, fifty [percent].
TODD: Well, this is a situation of the VA. And compare it to President Bush. He's [Obama's] actually in a worse situation. The Obama administration is seen as less competent than the Bush administration was post-Katrina. That's VA, that's health care, and foreign policy.
GUTHRIE: Let's show the poll number you call the dagger. "Can the President lead and get the job done?" 54% say no.
TODD: And this is what's amazing here. This is as if the public is saying, "Hey, buddy, your presidency is over. You may not believe it is, but your ability to lead and convince us that you have the right policies anymore, we're not listening." That's what that poll question says. That's the most dangerous poll question in this – in this survey for the President.
GUTHRIE: So does this spell success for Republicans in the midterms coming up?
TODD: Well, it's not been a seesaw for some reason. The President's numbers are worse now than they were four years ago, right before the Republican tsunami of 2010. But Republican numbers are worse now than they were four years ago. It isn't translating. The public really is angry at both parties. We saw it with Eric Cantor. That's one of the reasons he got tossed out. So this isn't an automatic translation. So it's mildly good news for Democrats, maybe they can separate themselves from the drag that President Obama is.
GUTHRIE: You still see a real Tea Party, non-Tea Party split in the GOP.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Tea Party Influence Growing?; Poll: Schism Withing GOP Over Role]
And let me ask you about Hillary Clinton. Because you took a poll, basically, "Would you vote for Hillary?" to a general electorate. And the numbers you got were, saying yes, 38%. No, 37%. And maybe, twenty-three [percent].
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: The Politics of Hillary; Poll: Clinton Favorability Down]
TODD: Well, and this is a reminder, she's not – you know, some in the media treat this as if it's a coronation. That President Clinton is an automatic in 2016. This is the voters saying no, she's not. She's an automatic with Democrats. Her numbers with Democrats are better now than they've ever been. Much better than they were eight years ago. With the rest of the public, it's another question.
GUTHRIE: Alright, Chuck Todd, thank you very much.
By the way, tomorrow on Today we will sit down with Secretary of State John Kerry to talk more about these U.S. options in Iraq, the possibility of cooperating with Iran, and much more.