Poll: Obama's Low Rating Could Affect Red-Leaning Midterms

Monday, 28 Apr 2014 11:40 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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President Barack Obama's overall approval rating is standing at a low mark of 41 percent, and is especially low among noncollege-educated people and older whites who dominate voting in seven red-leaning states where Democrats are trying to defend their Senate seats, a new poll finds.

The Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll, conducted of 1,000 respondents April 9-13, revealed the president's rating are now the lowest recorded in 20 Heartland Monitor polls since April 2009, The National Journal reports.

Congress proved even less popular than Obama, the poll showed. Only 11 percent said they approve of Congress' performance, with 80 percent disapproving, one of the lowest ratings shown since Heartland Monitor began polling about Congress in November 2012.

Attitudes about a sitting president often play a large role in midterm elections, and people responding to the poll showed that they remain not only pessimistic about Obama, but about where the country is heading.

Only 27 percent of the respondents said they think the country is heading in the right direction, while 62 percent said they believe the country is on the wrong track.

There was a disparity in how minorities and whites answered the satisfaction question. Forty-one percent of minorities said they believe the country is moving in the right direction, but only 22 percent of whites agree with them.

Obama's tumbling approval rates could create problems for Democrats in states that voted for Mitt Romney. The states — Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia — all have electorates with older whites and white people without college degrees.

The poll could spell further doom in red states where liberal-leaning groups already say they're torn over whether they should support red-state Democrats who are up for re-election in November after voting against the party on several major issues.

Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, and Mark Pryor of Arkansas are all vulnerable Senate Democrats who have voted with Republicans on issues such as gun control, oil and gas development, climate change, or Social Security, and now some left-leaning groups are hesitant to support them.

Americans are also pessimistic about Obama's effect on their economic prospects. Only 25 percent said they think their opportunities are increasing under Obama, one of the smallest responses the pollsters have gotten to that question. Last fall, 46 percent of the respondents said they believe Obama's actions will diminish their opportunities.

Meanwhile, 40 percent of nonwhite respondents said their opportunities are increasing under Obama, compared with 24 percent who think Obama reduces their opportunities.

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