Sat, Aug 08, 2009 - Page 7 News List

Obama’s approval rating slips on 200th day in office


US President Barack Obama’s approval rating has slumped to 50 percent, the lowest since his inauguration, according to a poll released on Thursday on the eve of his 200th day in office.

Quinnipiac University said the president’s job approval rating dipped to 50 percent, versus 42 percent who disapprove — a reflection of growing unease over Obama’s handling of the economy, which sank into a devastating recession last year prompting his administration to unleash a deficit-stretching stimulus package, and health care which faces a critical overhaul in Congress.

The figure is a substantial drop from the 57 approval, 33 percent disapproval rating he had on July 2, and far less than the numbers he enjoyed in the honeymoon first 100 days of his tenure.

The poll of 2,409 registered voters nationwide found 49 percent disapproved of the way Obama was handling the economy, and 52 percent disapproved on his handling of health care, but 52 percent approved of his foreign policy.

While Republicans disapproved of the Democratic president’s job performance by an expectedly large margin of 77 percent, the poll found that 59 percent of Americans disapproved of how Republicans in Congress were doing their job and 47 percent trusted Obama over 36 percent trusting the Republicans to fix the economy and 46 percent vs 37 percent to deal with health care.

“The president is right on the magic 50 percent threshold in public approval because of bad grades on the economy and even worse grades on health care,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of Quinnipiac’s Polling Institute.

“The good news ... is that American voters still see him as better able to handle the economy and health care than Republicans in Congress,” Brown said. “The bad news is his margins are shrinking.”

On July 21 a USA Today/Gallup poll found Obama’s approval rating was 55 percent six months into his presidency, one point lower than that of his predecessor George W. Bush at the same point in his tenure.

Another poll released on Thursday revealed better numbers for Obama but showed the same downward trend as Quinnipiac.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation telephone poll of 1,136 adult Americans — including what it described as an “oversample of African-Americans” — said 56 percent of respondents approved of the way Obama was handling his job, compared with 40 percent who disapprove.

In late June, that figure stood at 61 percent vs 37 percent, according to CNN.

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