Maybe the unusually hot summer is making New Yorkers crabby. Or maybe it was the whole debt-ceiling thing: For the first time, Obama’s approval rating in the state has slipped below the 50 percent mark. In a Quinnipiac poll conducted August 3 through 8, in fact, it was all the way down at 45 percent approval and 49 percent disapproval, compared with June’s 57 percent approval and 38 percent disapproval. It’s a shift that reflects a larger trend nationwide — though the New York numbers are still just a hair higher than the national average of 42 — but the sharp summer dip, which tracks pretty neatly against the period of budget negotiations and the worsening economy and stock market, is remarkable in such a blue state.
Still, despite Democratic discontent, Obama would carry the state easily against a GOP challenger: The same poll showed him up 49–34. New York looms larger than other states in Obama’s reelection plans not (just) for its electoral college votes, but for its fundraising potential: Many of Obama’s biggest fundraisers and contributors are here. Last night, for instance, Obama was in the city for two high-profile events, one at the Ritz and one co-hosted by Harvey Weinstein and Anna Wintour in the West Village. (Where the security setup for the president’s motorcade included the removal of trash cans, which forced residents — voting, blogging residents! — to walk three whole extra blocks to throw away dog poop. Obama, this is why your poll numbers are dropping.)
Obama put on the charm at the Weinstein/Wintour gather, offering “This is a pretty good-looking crowd” to the assembled group, which included Alicia Keys, Jimmy Fallon, Chris Martin, and Gwyneth Paltrow. Surely they already knew that, but it never hurts to remind pretty people of their own attractiveness. Maybe Obama was looking for similar reassurance. He also said, in explaining his own uphill battle this election, “Obama is gray-haired, he doesn’t seem as cool.” He is totally going to put soda in all the drinking fountains and make sure we get someone really awesome to DJ the spring dance, though, which should fix that problem.