Obama Disapproval On Economy At Record High

When it comes to the issue likely to be at the forefront of voters minds next November, President Obama isn’t doing well at all:

President Obama’s ratings on the the most important issue for his re-election — the economy — have posted the weakest showing of his presidency, according to a poll released Friday by CBS News.

About 60 percent of voters said they disapprove of Mr. Obama’s handling of the economy, the highest on record. Just 34 percent approve of the job he is doing on the matter.

His overall approval ratings are just 43 percent, while 47 percent disapprove of the job he is doing as president.

Among independents, just 39 percent are satisfied with his performance, while 76 percent of Democrats and 12 percent of Republicans approve of his job performance

About 47 percent of independents disapprove of the job Mr. Obama is doing for the United States, compared to 81 percent disapproval among Republicans and 21 percent disapproval among Democrats.


On foreign policy, Mr. Obama’s ratings are higher. About 45 percent of respondents approve of the job he is doing, compared to 41 percent who disapprove of his foreign policy performance.

On the specific subject of combating terrorism, about 63 percent approve of Mr. Obama’s performance while 28 percent disapprove.

These numbers are fairly consistent with what we’ve seen recently from other polls of the President’s job approval, and just adds to the overall trend when it comes to his job approval on the economy which is, not surprisingly, not good at all:

Given the state of the economy, it’s not surprising that these numbers are where they are. It poses a problem for the President, though, since it’s pretty clear that the economic climate is unlikely to improve significantly over the next year. The President himself has already admitted that people are not better off than they were four years ago, and when the time comes, they’ll be asking themselves that same question when they walk into their polling place. Barack Obama might not like their answer.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, Economics and Business, Terrorism, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. john personna says:

    How can anyone, post-OWS, believe that negatives for Obama equal positives for the GOP?


  2. waltm says:

    @john personna: Depends on how big the pox on “both houses, I’m going fishing” crowd is Election Day.

  3. john personna says:


    There is that, but I’m thinking baring some sort of OWS third-party, that Obama can recapture the progressive vote. That effect would be reduced with a Romney of course, over a Bachman or something …

  4. Tano says:

    I wonder why Doug focuses so much on the “Approval on Economy” poll. Is it just because it produces nicely negative numbers?

    I realize that the economy is the most important issue to voters, but that is factored into their opinions regarding Obama’s overall approval. What is the sense of even asking about “economic approval”? It is just a proxy question for “how do you feel about the economy”.

    If there is anything here worth commenting on, it is the disparity between Obama’s approval score on the economy (34/60), and his overall approval (43/47).

    How do you explain that? Seems like the economy is not really the most important driver of overall approval. It is an important issue, no doubt, but perhaps the voters actually do understand that the President does not conduct the economy like an orchestra and he really should not bear much of the blame for the bad state we are struggling to emerge from.

  5. de stijl says:

    Contrary to the headline, per the chart it looks like Obama’s disapproval is down from record levels which occurred in September.

  6. Just nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    In other news, the sun continues to rise in the East. Disapproval of Obama’s handling of the economy is not the same as approval of what the GOP would be likely to do, and I feel fairly confident that some in the GOP are saying now “boy, I’m sure glad we dodged THIS bullet.”

    The greater problem, to my view is not who people approve of or disapprove of, but how are we going to fix an economy that will be resistant to ginning up by government spending because the problem isn’t on the supply side (or at least doesn’t appear to be). Neither party has a program for starting things back up and honest conservative economists are noting that austerity may be the recipe–but it will keep the economy flat for 8-15 or more years. Balancing the budget–on either the backs of the poor or the rich–is not going to unleash the unicorns and they are not going to lead us to the pixie dust motherlode. It is still a good idea to try to improve the budget balance–particulary since the share paid by the rich is as low as it has been during my lifetime (I’m 59) and their share of the income and wealth is also at all-time highs. The economy seems intractable right now, and that problem is not going to go away because we get “anyone but Obama” or “anyone but Romney.”

  7. Ben Wolf says:

    @Just nutha ig’rant cracker:

    The greater problem, to my view is not who people approve of or disapprove of, but how are we going to fix an economy that will be resistant to ginning up by government spending because the problem isn’t on the supply side (or at least doesn’t appear to be).

    As Warren Mosler has said, there is no economic crisis so serious a sufficiently large spending program or tax cut cannot cure it. We need to increase the size of the deficit; doing so transfers more money from government to the private sector and stimulates economic transactions. Will it happen? Only after a full-blown depression forces people to give up their anti-government ideology.