According to this national McClatchy-Marist Poll, President Barack Obama’s approval rating has dipped to its lowest point since taking office. Currently, 42% of registered voters approve of the job the president is doing while half — 50% — disapprove. Eight percent are unsure. When McClatchy-Marist last asked this question in its November 24th survey, 45% thought his performance was on the mark while 48% thought it was subpar, and 7% were unsure. Prior to this survey, voters gave Mr. Obama his lowest approval rating in early October. At that time, 43% of registered voters thought he was performing well in office.
The change has occurred among members of the president’s own party. 74% of Democrats think Obama is performing well in office while 21% do not, and 5% are unsure. Late last month, those proportions stood at 83%, 11%, and 6%, respectively. Among Republicans, most — 87% — disapprove of Mr. Obama’s job performance while 7% approve. Six percent are unsure. Similar proportions of Republicans held these views late last month when 84% disapproved, 11% approved, and 5% were unsure. There has also been little movement among independent voters. Currently, 52% disapprove, 39% approve, and 9% are unsure. Late last month, those proportions were 54%, 38%, and 9%, respectively.
“President Obama’s recent criticism of both Democrats and Republicans and his attempts to move to the center haven’t exactly endeared him with independents,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Instead, it’s ended up costing him support with his Democratic base.”
Obama Beats Out Palin in 2012 Tossup … Race Close Against Romney and Huckabee
Looking ahead to the 2012 presidential election, President Obama has the advantage over former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin but faces greater competition against other prominent Republicans.
In a hypothetical tossup between Obama and Palin, a majority of registered voters — 52% — say they would support the president in 2012 while 40% report they would cast their ballot for Palin. Nine percent are undecided.
Not surprisingly, there are wide partisan differences in support for the candidates between Democrats and Republicans. Against Palin, Obama has the advantage among independent voters. The president receives majority support among these all-important voters with 52% saying they would back Obama and 35% declaring Palin would be their candidate. 12% are undecided.
However, the president faces a much different reality when he is paired against former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney or former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. Against Romney, a plurality — 46% — say they would vote for Romney while 44% would support the president. One-tenth — 10% — are unsure.
When asked to choose between President Obama and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, 47% say they would back the president, 43% would tout Huckabee, and 11% are undecided.
In both contests, independent voters are the key. In the matchup between Obama and Romney, nearly half of independents — 47% — would support Romney while almost four in ten — 39% — say they would vote for Obama. 14% are undecided. Huckabee holds his own against Obama among independents. 40% back Huckabee, and 42% support the president. 18% are undecided.
Lessons Learned from the Midterm Elections
Most voters think President Obama learned at least a little from this year’s midterm elections. A plurality of registered voters — 44% — think President Obama learned a lot from this year’s midterm elections, and 30% report he learned a little. 22% believe he learned nothing at all, and only 4% are unsure.
More Americans View Nation as Moving in the Wrong Direction
Nearly six in ten U.S. residents — 58% — believe the country is moving in the wrong direction while 34% say it is moving along the correct path, and 8% are unsure. When McClatchy-Marist last asked this question in late November, 53% thought the country needed to be re-directed, 41% said it was headed on the right path, and 6% were unsure.
The Marist Poll’s Lee Miringoff discusses Obama’s future: