New Polls: Obama Approval Sinks to All-Time Low

Tuesday, 06 Sep 2011 08:32 AM

By Jim Meyers

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President Barack Obama’s approval rating has sunk to an all-time low, with more than half of Americans now saying they disapprove of his job performance, two significant new polls reveal.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey found that for the first time since his inauguration, more than half of Americans, 51 percent, are disapproving. Just 44 percent approve of the job he is doing as president.

Obama fared even worse in a new Washington Post/ABC News poll — 53 percent of respondents said they disapprove of his job performance, and only 43 percent approve.

More than 60 percent of respondents in that poll disapprove of the way Obama is handling the economy. By a 2 to 1 margin, those polled believe the administration’s economic policies are making the economy worse rather than better.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents in the Journal/NBC poll, 73 percent, say the country is headed in the wrong direction, the highest percentage since late 2008 as the financial crisis struck. And more than 70 percent of people surveyed said the economy hasn’t yet hit bottom.

Those results mirror the findings of a new Politico/George Washington University Battleground poll, which found that 72 percent of voters believe the country is headed in the wrong direction. That’s up from 60 percent in a survey in May. Only 20 percent of voters say the country is going in the right direction, a 12-point drop in the same period.

Obama will get the opportunity to state his case at a joint session of Congress on Thursday, when he will lay out his new jobs plan and discuss the domestic agenda for the rest of his term.

But voters appear to be looking for a new direction. In the Journal/NBC poll, 44 percent of respondent said they are more likely to vote Republican next year, compared to 40 percent who say they would likely vote for Obama’s re-election.

Recent polls also disclose a deep dissatisfaction with Congress’s job performance. A Pew Research Center survey released last week showed Congress with a 70 percent unfavorable rating. And the Post/ABC survey found that 68 percent of Americans disapprove of the way Republicans in Congress are doing their job.

But Obama’s is losing support in a number of key demographic groups:
  • Obama’s support among independents has plummeted from 52 percent in 2008 to just 26 percent in the new Journal/NBC poll.
  • Half of union members disapprove of Obama’s job performance, while 45 percent approve, according to the Journal/NBC poll.
  • Only 43 percent of women back Obama’s re-election, compared to 56 percent who supported him in the 2008 election, that poll also revealed.
  • Two-thirds of Hispanic voters backed Obama in 2008, but barely half, 51 percent, now say they will vote for his re-election, according to the Journal.
  • Only 32 percent of Democrats believe the nation is headed in the right direction, the Post/ABC survey disclosed.
  • For the first time in a Post poll, fewer than half of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 give the president a positive approval rating. Just 47 percent of those under age 30 approve.
In the only bright note for Obama in the Journal/NBC poll, 47 percent of respondents said they would vote for Obama while 42 percent would vote for Republican front-runner Rick Perry. Obama also narrowly beat Mitt Romney, 46 percent to 45 percent.

But if voters’ judgment of Obama’s performance doesn’t change, Democratic pollster Peter Hart tells the Journal, “whoever the Republican is, you have to say Obama is no longer the favorite to win re-election.”

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