President Obama fared poorly in two new polls. The surveys found little… (Carolyn Kaster / Associated…)
While official Washington is caught in a debate over when President Obama can present his jobs program to a joint session of Congress, two polls released on Thursday show that the president continues to pay a steep political price for a weak economy.
About 65% of those surveyed in a CNN/ORC poll said they disapproved of the president's handling of the economy, while Obama's approval numbers in the latest Quinnipiac University poll fell to their lowest levels, driven by the economic questions.
Obama will address Congress and the nation next Thursday on jobs and the economy. He had first sought to speak on Wednesday, the night of a GOP presidential debate, but moved his speech back a day after Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the Republican-controlled House needed the extra time because of a scheduled evening vote. The dispute over scheduling, normally a routine step, is being seen by most as an example of the increasingly fractured political comity.
According to the Quinnipiac poll, Obama's overall approval rating has fallen to all-time low, with 42% saying they approve of his performance while 52% disapprove. This is comparable to other poll findings and was a slightly worse showing than in July, when voters split 47% to 46% against the president.
Much of the public's unhappiness with the political system comes from the economy. By 49% to 11%, those surveyed said that the economic situation is getting poorer, a sharp uptick from July when voters said by 32% to 23% that the general economy was worsening.
Obama, however, can take some comfort in the poll's finding that congressional leaders rate even lower in the public's eye after the dispute over raising the ceiling on the debt limit. Obama gets an even split at 47% on that issue, but Boehner drew a negative 31% to 22% rating, with other leaders also doing poorly.
Voters also said they trust Obama more than congressional Republicans to handle the economy, 44% to 41%. But by 46% to 42%, the poll found that those surveyed said they believed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney would do a better job than Obama. They split almost evenly 43% to 41% on whether Obama or Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the GOP front-runner according to most polls, would be better on the economy.
The findings are based on interviews with 2,730 people conducted from Aug. 16 to 27. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.9 percentage points.
The economy also played a key role in Obama's lackluster showing in the CNN poll. By 65% to 34%, those surveyed said they disapproved of the way Obama was handling the economy. Obama also did poorly on the deficit, with 66% to 33% disapproving, and on jobs ,where 62% disapproved and 37% approved.
The CNN poll surveyed 1,017 adults on Aug. 24 and 25. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.