President Obama's standing with American voters is so low that the latest Quinnipiac University poll indicates Obama would lose an election to "an unnamed Republican" -- meaning any GOP opponent -- by 39 to 36 percent.
The poll shows Obama's job approval hitting a new low, 44 percent approval to 48 percent disapproval. That is the president's worst net score ever, according to Quinnipiac.
The most drastic news for the president politically: His approval with the critical independent voters is dismal.
By a stunning 52 percent to 38 percent, independent voters disapprove of Obama. And by 37 to 27 percent, independents say they would vote for a Republican contender in 2012.
Overall, by a 48 percent to 40 percent margin, American voters say that President Obama does not deserve to be reelected in 2012.
While the Obama administration has time to turn around its low approval ratings before its next election, the poll is likely to sound alarm bells on Capitol Hill where many members of Congress will be up for reelection in November. Midterm elections tend to be a referendum on the party in power.
Voters apparently have a "pox on both their houses" mentality when it comes to Congress, giving both Republican and Democratic members very low marks. But that may be little consolation to Democrats on the ballot in November, because respondents said by a 43 to 38 percent margin that they would vote for a generic Republican over a generic Democrat for Congress.
The Quinnipiac survey of 2,181 registered voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.1 percent, the university says.
The overall impression left by the poll is that voters are disenchanted with the reforms that President Obama stated he would enact if he were elected president. He gets strong negative ratings for his handling of the economy, foreign policy, and the Gulf Oil spill.
"It was a year ago, during the summer of 2009, that America's love affair with President Barack Obama began to wane," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "In July of 2009, the president had a 57 to 33 percent approval rating.
"Today, his support among Democrats remains strong, but the disillusionment among independent voters, who dropped from 52 to 37 percent approval to 52 to 38 percent disapproval in the last 12 months, is what leads to his weakness overall when voters start thinking about 2012," Brown says.
More bad news for Democrats on the campaign trail: Obama's coat-tails are remarkably short this year. Only 12 percent of voters say they are more likely to support candidates for whom Obama campaigns, compared to 16 percent for candidates supported by Sarah Palin.
There are some redeeming glimmers for the administration in the survey: By a 42 to 32 margin, American voters continue to believe Obama has been a better president than George W. Bush.
That is remarkably similar to the 43 to 30 margin recorded in January 2010, which could imply Bush fatigue with voters is a lingering phenomenon.
Also, the poll shows support for the war in Afghanistan has hit a new low, with 48 percent of Americans saying the war was the right thing to do, and 43 percent saying America should not be fighting there.
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