Washington Post-ABC News Poll: 63 Percent Have 'No Confidence' in Obama

Image: Washington Post-ABC News Poll: 63 Percent Have 'No Confidence' in Obama

Monday, 27 Jan 2014 09:26 AM

By Courtney Coren

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As President Barack Obama gets ready to unveil his agenda for the nation in his State of the Union address Tuesday night, 63 percent of Americans say they are not confident that he will make the right decisions for the future of the country.

That number is the exact opposite of what it was in 2009, when Obama was sworn into office, and 63 percent had faith in him to make the right decisions.

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

It is also a lower mark than it has been in his five years in the White House, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Obama heads into his sixth State of the Union address with an approval rating of 46 percent, up slightly from the 42 percent he had in November 2013. This is the first time since he took office that he will give the annual speech with a negative approval rating.

"Obama’s approval ratings are almost identical to those of George W. Bush at a similar point in his presidency in 2006," the Post said in reporting the poll. "Other recent two-term presidents — Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan — were at 60-percent approval at the start of their sixth years, while Richard M. Nixon, in the middle of the Watergate scandal, was at 26 percent."

His numbers bode badly for Democrats, says ABC. "Obama’s weakness leaves his party vulnerable: Registered voters divide essentially evenly, 46-45 percent, between Republican and Democratic candidates for Congress next fall. That’s a challenge for the Democrats, because Republicans usually hold the edge in midterm turnout. And it’s shifted from an 8-point Democratic lead in a pair of ABC/Post polls last year."

ABC notes that Obama's ratings are "deeply polarized along political fault lines — partisan, ideological, racial and ethnic, generational and policy-based alike."

Many more people say they "strongly' disapprove than those who strongly approve. "Strongly held views are an important indicator because they can signify motivation to vote," ABC points out.

"And while...the president’s overall approval rating is about even, 46-50 percent, strong disapproval of his job performance exceeds strong approval by 18 points. With little for his backers to rally around, there’s simply more mojo among his critics."

The poll was conducted Jan. 20-23 among 1,003 adults.

Only 37 percent approve of Obama's handling of the rollout of his healthcare package, with 59 percent saying they don't. That number went up to 62 percent when only registered voters were included. In the latest AP poll, 66 percent of Americans said that they do not like the new healthcare law.

Fifty-four percent said that they think the problems that have faced Obamacare, primarily with the HealthCare.gov website, are a sign that there are broader problems with the implementation of the law. Six-in-ten said that even now they do not believe the website is now working as it should.

Sixty-nine percent of those polled said they believe that Obamacare will be an important factor when they decide where to cast their ballot in November. Other important factors include the federal deficit and the way Washington is working.

"Another key rating reflects the sense of separation the presidential bubble can create," says ABC. "Just 47 percent now say Obama 'understands the problems of people like you,' tying his low, while 52 percent says he doesn’t — a new high, albeit by a single point.

"A sense of empathy can provide cartilage for a president when the road gets rough — and was an essential edge for Obama in the 2012 election. Losing it is a problem for the president."

White House officials hope that Tuesday's address will give Obama the chance to regain support for his policies.

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

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