The president's declining job-approval and personal-popularity ratings receive this analysis from the Marist Institute for Public Opinion's Lee Miringoff:
This may be the downside of him coming out of the box stronger in the second term. People are now looking for him to lead us out of this stalemate, provide more leadership. People see him as a strong figure and in the driver’s seat. During the election, it was him versus Romney. Now it’s him versus people’s expectations for the country.
Remember, Miringoff is analyzing, not blaming. And my guess is that he's as analytically exasperated as Obama at the electorate's oversimplification of a simple complication: contrary to voters' allegiance to the cult of the presidency, the president, through "more leadership," cannot simply bully--at the pulpit or anywhere else--a recalcitrant opposition. The latter has the constitutional right to be incorrigibly vile, and if nothing else the opposition knows its rights.
What fascinates, though, is that the opposition also vividly comprehends the altering power of mindless repetition. It's true that the electorate hopelessly infantilizes itself through its misperception of a strong, powerful Daddy President who can kiss the boo-boos and make their pain go away. But even truer, and repeatedly demonstrated by the demagogic GOP (and recorded by polling outfits like Marist), is that pounding away at a simpleminded slogan--What this nation needs is presidential leadership!--is a powerfully persuasive non-argument.