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ABC Poll: Obama Popularity Plummets to Lowest Level

Image: ABC Poll: Obama Popularity Plummets to Lowest Level

Tuesday, 17 Dec 2013 08:19 AM

By Melanie Batley

President Barack Obama's job approval rating has sunk to the lowest levels of his presidency in a dramatic reversal of the commanding lead he held over Republicans in the wake of his re-election victory of just a year ago, a new poll has found.

According to a Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted Dec. 12-15 , approval rates of both parties in Congress continue to be worse than the president's, but Obama's approval numbers have plummeted the most as the public pins more blame on him for the country's policy setbacks, including the botched rollout of Obamacare.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama's Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

Forty-three percent of the 1,005 adults surveyed approve of the job Obama is doing, while 55 percent disapprove. At this time last year, the numbers were virtually reversed with 54 percent giving the president a positive job approval rating compared to 42 percent who disapproved.

Obama's  slump "is all the more striking when compared with his standing a year ago, as he was preparing for his second inauguration after a solid re-election victory," the Post said in reporting the poll.

"That high note proved fleeting as the president faced a series of setbacks, culminating in the botched rollout of his Affordable Care Act two months ago."

In similar polls, every other two-term president since World War II had an approval rating of at least 50 percent in their fifth year, with the exception of Richard Nixon who was embroiled in the Watergate scandal, the Post said.

Obama's plummeting figures are already triggering alarm among Democrats who fear the party's fortunes could suffer in the 2014 midterm elections. They worry they could lose control of the Senate and fail to pick up seats in the House.

Obama and Republicans are now tied on who is seen as better able to handle the country's problems at 41 percent. One year ago, the president held a 15-point advantage on that question.

Obama's lead has also eroded on who Americans believe is more capable to handle the economy, with 45 percent saying it's congressional Republicans compared to 41 percent who believe it's the president.

"Preference for the GOP approach over Obama’s in handling budget cuts vs. maintaining needed programs has risen since the shutdown by 18 points among independents and also by 18 points among adults younger than age 30, customarily a strong Obama group but one in which he lost ground sharply last month," ABC said in its report of the poll.

On the question of who is better placed to protect the middle class, Obama's lead has dropped by 20 points, from 26 percent to just 6 percent.

The findings hold true across all the key groups who were instrumental in the president's electoral successes, including women, liberals and the under-30s.

Meanwhile, approval of the job congressional lawmakers are doing continues to remain at near historic lows at just 16 percent. Disapproval of Congressional Republicans is only marginally worse than a year ago with more than seven in 10 people saying they disapprove. Congressional Democrats get similar ratings with six in 10 saying they disapprove.

The poll also found that voters are evenly divided on which party they would support in the 2014 races for the House. The eight-point advantage Democrats held in the wake of October's government shutdown has eroded to just two points, standing at 47 percent, compared to 45 percent who say they would back the GOP.

By way of comparison, Democrats also had a two point lead just before the 2010 midterm elections which saw an influx of Republicans elected to the House.

The president has, however, managed to reverse his negative ratings on key personal attributes, in particular, whether he understands the problems of everyday Americans and whether he is honest and trustworthy.

At the height of problems with the rollout of the Obamacare website, small majorities gave the president negative ratings on those subjects. In the current poll, Obama draws slim positive ratings.

And even five years into Obama's presidency more Americans — 50 percent compared to 38 percent — blame his predecessor George W. Bush for the country's economic woes than point the finger at him. 

Nonetheless, disapproval of Obama's handling of the implementation of his signature healthcare law stands at 62 percent while disapproval of his handling of the economy is at 55 percent. Both figures are largely unchanged from a poll last month, though overall opposition to Obamacare has decreased from record levels of opposition.

The poll also found that almost half of all Americans think Obamacare will result in an overall worse standard of healthcare in the country, and six in 10 believe it will mean higher overall costs. Still, roughly six in 10 say they expect the quality and coverage of their own care will likely be about the same as before the new law.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama's Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

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