Even before the recent unrest in Iraq broke out, a majority of Americans lost faith in President Barack Obama’s ability to lead the country, according to the results of a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.
Sixty-three percent of the 1,000 adults surveyed between June 11 and June 15 told pollsters they believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, and 53 percent disapproved of the way the president was doing his job. Obama’s handling of foreign policy and the economy bode poorly for him, with respective 57 percent and 54 percent disapproval ratings.
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"This is a bad poll for President Obama, and not a good poll for anybody else," pollster Bill McInturff told NBC News.
McInturff, a Republican, conducted the survey with Democrats Peter Hart and Fred Yang.
Over the past year, according to 41 percent of those surveyed, the Obama administration’s performance has gotten worse. The top three reasons given were Obamacare, the president’s foreign policy and his decision to swap Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban members.
"Whether it’s [Vladimir] Putin, Ukraine, the VA hospitals, Bowe Bergdahl, the events have controlled Obama, rather than Obama having controlled the events," Hart said. "[Obama] may be winning the issues debate, but he’s losing the political debate, because they don’t see him as a leader."
Forty-five percent of the survey participants reported negative feelings toward the president, the same percentage who felt negatively about the Republican Party. The tea party faction of the GOP wasn’t far behind, garnering a 41 percent negativity rating, followed by Democrats (40 percent) and Hillary Clinton (37 percent).
While 48 percent of people told pollsters they were more enthusiastic about voting than in previous elections, respondents are split about who they want to control Congress. Forty-five percent prefer that Democrats are in charge, compared with 43 percent desiring the GOP to be in control.
The Journal reported that Hispanics — one of Obama’s core constituencies — have lost faith in the president as well. In January 2013, 67 percent of Hispanics viewed Obama favorably and thought he was doing a good job. That figure dropped
to 44 percent in the latest poll.
Americans’ have an increased sense of urgency to address climate change, according to the survey, which found a combined 61 percent believe the issue requires "immediate" or "some" action.
An overwhelming majority — 67 percent —say they support the president’s recent directive to the Environmental Protection Agency to restrict carbon emissions from existing coal-fired power plants, while 57 percent favor requiring companies to reduce greenhouse gases that cause global warming, even if that means consumers’ utility bills increase. Thirty-nine percent disapprove of a proposal to require companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The poll had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.
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