Fri, Jun 24, 2011 - Page 7 News List

Obama approval falls as recovery loses its steam

AT ODDS:In spite of major worries, more than three out of five people said their households were doing fine and they expected economic improvements

AP, Washington

Americans increasingly disapprove of US President Barack Obama’s handling of the US economy and are split about whether he should be re-elected, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.

With the economy likely to dominate the vote in November next year, the poll released on Wednesday showed the tough road Obama could face if the situation does not change.

Americans’ opinions on the economy are the lowest yet this year as high gas prices, anemic hiring and financial turmoil abroad have shaken their confidence. Four out of five Americans believe the economy is in poor shape.

The poll is the first this year showing that the number of respondents who say Obama deserves re-election has fallen below 50 percent into a virtual split of 48 percent favoring he be re-elected to 47 percent against — a demanding challenge.

Concerns over the economy quickly stripped away the gloss the president briefly gained after the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

“I just think that he’s not doing his job the way he should be,” said Mary Perrine, a grandmother of three from Indiana who said she struggles to pay her bills.

Republicans have honed in on Obama’s handling of the weak economy, with party elders saying the economy should be the No. 1 campaign issue.

The poll was released as the US Federal Reserve said on Wednesday the economy was growing more slowly than expected, but maintaining the causes were temporary.

In an updated forecast, the Federal Reserve estimated the economy would grow between 2.7 percent and 2.9 percent this year — down from its April estimate of between 3.1 percent and 3.3 percent. Under that projection, growth would not be enough to significantly lower unemployment, now at 9.1 percent.

Obama has been traveling every week for months to campaign battleground states to promote job initiatives. He acknowledges the sluggishness of the recovery, illustrated by last month’s jump in unemployment.

Still, the poll also showed the public to be conflicted about the president, and Americans’ perceptions about the national economy were often at odds with their personal experiences.

Despite the overwhelming sentiment that the national economy is in poor shape, more than three out of five of those polled rated the financial situation of their households as good. While glum about the current state of the economy, one-third said they expect it to get better over the next year. Less than a third said it would get worse and the remainder said it would remain the same.

The poll was conducted from Thursday last week to Monday by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications. It involved landline and cellphone interviews with 1,001 adults nationwide and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

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