Tags: poll | obama | approval | falls

WaPo Poll: Obama’s Approval Falls to 50% on Concerns Over Economy

By Lisa Barron   |   Wednesday, 13 Mar 2013 09:42 AM

The second-term honeymoon is over for President Obama, whose approval rating has dropped as Americans take an increasingly negative view of his handling of the economy.

Last December, the president had an 18 percentage point lead over congressional Republicans on who the public trusted more to deal with economic issues.

Now, according to the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, that has shrunk to a 4 percentage point edge, with 44 percent trusting Obama compared to 40 percent placing more trust in Republicans in Congress. the survey of 1,001 adults was taken March 7-10.

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The president’s overall job approval rating, meanwhile, has lost 5 percentage points, dropping from nearly a three-year high of 55 percent before his second inauguration in January down to 50 percent.

Democrats in Congress have fared similarly, down 5 points in approval since December to 34 percent in the new poll. The approval rating for Republicans in Congress has not changed. It is still lower at 24 percent than the Democrats' rating.

Congress as a whole has a mere 16 percent job approval rating, just three percentage points above the record low just over a year ago.

One of the key factors driving public sentiment is the sequester, with 34 percent strongly disapproving of the automatic spending cuts, twice as many as strongly approve.

Large majorities of Americans believe the across-the-board cuts that kicked on March 1 will hurt the economy, the military, and the government’s ability to provide basic services, although fewer — nearly half — see likely damage to their personal finances.

The Post/ABC poll also revealed that 68 percent of survey respondents say they would like the two sides to work together to reach a deal to stop the cuts, a desire that is shared across party lines.

As for who is responsible for the sequester, 47 percent blame Republicans in Congress compared to 33 percent who blame the president.

Still, the president’s overall standing in the poll is lower than that of most other modern second-term presidents at this stage in their tenure. Of the seven second-term presidents who have been in office since Harry Truman, noted the Post, only George W. Bush had a positive rating as low as 50 percent at this point.

The drop in Obama's approval rating was especially evident among political independents. Two months ago, 54 percent of independents approved of the president compared to 41 percent who disapproved. Now, half of independents say they disapprove of his performance, while just 44 percent approve.

Some of the president’s key support groups have also lost confidence in his performance. The percentage of liberals who put their faith in Obama over Republicans when it comes to dealing with the economy has dropped 14 points from a Post/ABC poll in December.
On issues such as immigration and gun control, public trust in the president and Republicans in Congress is somewhat evenly divided.

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