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Obama's approval rating on the economy falls to a new low

August 17, 2011|By Michael Muskal | Los Angeles Times
  • President Obama stops in a barn to chat during a surprise visit to the Whiteside County Fair in Morrison, Ill., during the final day of his three-day bus tour in the Midwest.
President Obama stops in a barn to chat during a surprise visit to the Whiteside… (Jom Watson / AFP/Getty Images )

About seven out of 10 Americans are unhappy with how President Obama is handling the economy, a new low that represents a significant decline since mid-May on the one of the most politically sensitive issues, the Gallup poll reported Wednesday.

According to the poll, just 26% of those surveyed approved of the president’s handling of the economy, while 71% disapproved. Obama earned  comparably poor approval ratings for his handling of the federal budget deficit and creating jobs, at 24% and 29%, respectively.

All three economic issues will be key in the 2012 election cycle during which control of Congress as well as the White House will be stake. Republicans have already made it clear that their basic platform will be to attack Obama for not dealing effectively with creating jobs as unemployment remains above 9%. Republicans have also attacked Obama for the rising federal debt.

The White House has announced that Obama will address the nation on economic issues and job creation next month. During his current three-day tour of the Midwest, the president has blamed congressional  Republicans for blocking his programs and called on Congress to work in solving the problems when it returns from vacation.

The latest Gallup poll, which measured voters’ opinions on seven key issues, is based on telephone interviews with 1,008 adults conducted Aug. 11 to 14. The margin of error is plus or minus four percentage points.

Overall, Obama's approval rating has sharply decreased since mid-May, from above 50% to the current about 40%. Gallup’s daily tracking poll showed that Obama’s approval rating has dipped to just below 40%.

The period has been an unhappy one for the political world, including the Obama administration, which found itself in a protracted battle with congressional Republicans over raising the debt ceiling, relatively static job creation, gyrating stock values and a serious debt crisis in Europe.

Obama does relatively better on foreign issues, despite the loss this month of 31 American service members in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.

According to the poll, 38% approved of Obama’s handling of the Afghanistan war while 55% disapproved, a drop of 15 points in support since mid-May. More than half of those surveyed, 53%, said they approved of how the president was handling terrorism, but only 42% approved of Obama’s overall handling of foreign affairs. That represented a decline of nine points from the 51% who approved of his handling of foreign affairs in mid-May.

Politically, Obama continues to enjoy the support of a majority of Democrats on all seven issues, the three economic, three involving foreign issues and education.

However, Obama fails to get a majority of support from independents on any issue. With barely any Republican support, the president has the approval of more than a third of respondents overall on only two of the issues, his handling of terrorism and Afghanistan.

michael.muskal@latimes.com

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