Obama Gets Lowest Job Approval Numbers On Economy To Date

Ongoing public pessimism about the economy is starting to have a decidedly negative impact on the public’s approval of the public’s handling of the economy:

President Barack Obama is in a fragile position as the 2012 campaign begins: Only 37 percent of registered voters approve of his handling of the economy, his lowest rating ever, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll.

Another ominous sign for Obama: By nearly 2-1, voters disapprove of how he’s handling the federal budget deficit, expected to hit a record $1.5 trillion this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.

“It’s a real caution sign … the four-year lease on the White House is very much dependent on how people end up looking at the economy,” said Lee Miringoff, the director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, which performed the survey.


Overall, 45 percent said they approved of the job the president is doing, while 47 percent disapproved, a range that’s held relatively steady since late 2009. As a result, Miringoff said, “this is a very competitive election year.”

The economic numbers tell why: Fifty-eight percent of voters disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy, comprising 60 percent of independents, 31 percent of Democrats and 91 percent of Republicans.

Nor do voters like how the president is dealing with the budget deficit. Sixty-one percent disapprove, and 31 percent approve.
These numbers are actually fairly consistent with the overall trend:
Not surprisingly, the rest of the Marist Poll (PDF) also finds that the public remains pessimistic bout the direction of the country:

Nearly six in ten American adults — 59% — report the country is moving in the wrong direction. However, 32% believe it is moving on the right path. Nine percent are unsure. When McClatchy-Marist last reported this question in April, 64% thought the nation needed a new compass, 31% believed the country was traveling along the right course, and 5% were unsure.

Again, this is largely consistent with the overall trend:
And thus we have Barack Obama’s biggest problem. The one thing that has the potential to seal his fate is the one thing that is, largely, beyond his control. Given current trends, it’s easy to predict that the economy will continue to stagnate over the coming months, and into 2012. If that’s the case, then it’s unlikely that these numbers will improve very much and the President’s approval numbers will continue to be low. If that’s the case, then November 2012 will be a very difficult time for him unless the GOP ends up nominating a divisive, controversial candidate. While that’s certainly possible, it would be atypical of Republican nomination contests over the past 30 years or more. If, instead, the GOP leads with a nominee that puts forward a more moderate image then the President could find himself in trouble.
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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.