For Obama, the last campaign may be the most difficult

Throughout his career as a national politician, President Obama often has benefited from comparisons with others. Nearing the end of the first year of his second term, he is running mostly against himself — and falling short. …

The most recent national polls tell the story of Obama’s decline in stark terms. His overall approval ratings have hit record lows and his ratings on a variety of major issues are at or near their lowest points. The health-care mess is a major contributor, but the question he must grapple with is the degree to which there are deeper doubts about his leadership.

Attributes that once helped sustain him through crises have eroded. A majority in a new Quinnipiac University poll say he is not honest and trustworthy, and more people say he is not a strong leader than say he is. In a Gallup survey, only 50 percent said he is honest. Throughout most of his presidency, that number in Gallup’s tracking hovered around 60 percent. CONT.

Dan Balz, Washington Post