Only 38 percent of U.S. voters believe President Obama deserves to be re-elected, according to new poll results that figure to greatly complicate the president's effort to erect a last-minute political firewall to save Democratic control of the House and the Senate.
The latest Politico/George Washington University Battleground Poll confirms that although most continue to admire the personal qualities of the nation's first African-American president, they are sorely disappointed by his management of key such as health-care reform and the economy.
Obama's overall approval has plummeted from the near 70 percent level he enjoyed shortly after his inauguration.
Pollsters asked voters: "Do you think President Obama has performed his job as president well enough to deserve re-election, will you consider voting for someone else, or do you think you will vote to replace Barack Obama?"
Only 38 percent said Obama deserves re-election. That compares to 44 percent who say they have already decided to vote for someone else, and another 13 percent of poll respondents who said they would consider voting for another candidate.
Six percent said they were unsure, or did not answer the question.
It was more bad political news for President Obama, who was elected in November 2008 with just under 53 percent of the national vote.
"This poll, like most others in recent weeks, showed why Democrats should be nervous heading into the final five weeks of the campaign" reported Jim Vandehei and Charles Mahtesian of Politico. "Republicans held a 4-point edge in the generic ballot; the two parties were tied in the last poll, which was conducted 10 days earlier."
The poll of 1,000 registered likely voters has a margin of error of 3.1 percent. For complete results of the Politico/George Washington University Battleground Poll go here.
The news of continued strong disapproval of the president's policies would not appear to bode well for his prospects of helping fellow Democrats mount the last-minute surge many analysts believe will be necessary to halt a GOP wave election.
The president has taken on a decidedly political tone in recent weeks as the Nov. 2 midterms draw near. On Monday on the Today Show, for example, Obama sharply ridiculed the new Republican Pledge to America platform, labeling it "just irresponsible."
A spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, shot back to The Hill: "It's a shame the president seems more interested in partisan attacks than working together to stop the tax hike, cut spending, and help create jobs."
President Obama is trying to re-engage young voters. On Monday he hosts a conference call with college journalists to tout his administration's record. On Tuesday he will give a speech at a University of Wisconsin rally that will be simulcast to 200 campuses nationwide.
"I would say our poll shows the base still likes Obama a lot so it makes complete sense that he is out there courting the faithful," Vandehei said.. "Democrats need to close that enthusiasm gap to have a chance in five weeks. Obama clearly helps on that score. As for the northeast, our crosstabs show GOP weakness there. Not sure if it's enough weaknesses to offset democratic weakness in other regions."
Democratic pollster Douglas Schoen, co-author of "Mad as Hell: How the Tea Party Movement is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System," tells Newsmax he doesn't believe Obama's efforts to get young people to the polls for the midterms will be effective.
"Can't work [and] won't work," Schoen tells Newsmax in an e-mail. "Young people aren't voting -- that's clear."
Democrats also believe they may be able to make a political last stand in the Northeast, where the Politico-GWU poll shows nearly half of voters – 47 percent – have a negative view of the tea party movement.
That could hurt GOP candidates indentified with the grass-roots conservative movement, pundits say.
Politico also points out that Obama's 38 percent "re-elect" number precisely matches Bill Clinton's score in a Gallup poll conducted in October 1994.
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