President Barack Obama met with Senate leaders yesterday to jumpstart stalled budget talks, but do voters nationwide agree with how the president is handling the federal budget deficit?
According to this McClatchy-Marist poll, 61% of voters disapprove of how the president is handling the deficit. Fewer than one-third — 31% — approve, and 8% are unsure.
“President Obama is increasingly focusing on and is the focus of budget negotiations,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Once again, it seems the buck stops in the oval office.”
While a majority of Democrats — 56% — approve of the president’s performance on the issue of the deficit, nearly four in ten — 37% — disapprove, and 8% are unsure. True to party lines, most Republicans — 89% — disapprove of the president’s fiscal management while only 7% approve. Four percent of Republicans are unsure. Among independent voters nationally, 65% disapprove of how the president is dealing with the budget deficit, and 26% approve. Nine percent of independents are unsure.
Voters are also voicing their dissatisfaction over the president’s handling of the economy. In fact, President Obama’s rating on the economy has hit an all-time low. Just 37% of registered voters nationally approve of the way the president is handling the economy while nearly six in ten — 58% — disapprove. Five percent are unsure.
When McClatchy-Marist last reported this question in April, 40% gave the president high marks on how he was dealing with the economy while 57% rated his performance as sub-par. Three percent, at the time, were unsure.
However, many voters still don’t blame President Obama for the nation’s current economic conditions. 61% report the president inherited them while 31% think they are the result of his own policies. Nine percent are unsure. Little has changed on this question since McClatchy-Marist’s previous survey. In April, 63% thought the president faced these trying economic conditions when he entered office while 30% said his policies created them. Seven percent, at the time, were unsure.
Majority Supports President’s Handling of War in Afghanistan, But War Viewed as Not Worth Fighting
President Obama scores higher on his handling of the war in Afghanistan than he does on the economy. 53% say they approve of the president’s actions while 39% disapprove. Eight percent are unsure. During the time period this McClatchy-Marist Poll was conducted, the president addressed the nation and shared his plans for withdrawing troops from the region. Did his address influence voters’ views toward his handling of the conflict? It did not. Similar proportions of voters before and after his speech approve of the president’s approach.
But, where do voters stand on bringing the troops home? Only 14% of registered voters think the United States has important work to do in Afghanistan and should keep the number of soldiers deployed at its current level. 38% believe there is still work to be done in Afghanistan, but some of the troops should return home now. However, 43% report the mission in Afghanistan is complete, and the troops should return home now. Five percent are unsure.
A majority of voters — 54% — say that, when thinking about the war’s costs and benefits to the United States, the nearly decade long conflict has not been worth fighting. Four in ten — 40% — disagree and report it has been worth the effort. Six percent are unsure.
While views differ along party lines, even 43% of Republicans don’t think the war has been worth the costs. This compares with 62% of Democrats and 54% of independent voters who share this view.
Obama Receives Mixed Reviews on Libya
Voters divide about how the president is handling the situation in Libya. 44% of voters nationally approve of his methods while 40% disapprove. 16% are unsure. In April, 44% approved, and 46% disapproved. Looking at party, 64% of Democrats approve of the president’s actions, 23% disapprove, and 13% are unsure.
Among Republicans, nearly six ten — 57% — disapprove of how President Obama is handling the situation in Libya. 25% approve, and 18% are unsure. Independent voters divide. 43% disapprove while 41% approve. 16% are unsure.
Overall Approval Rating Stuck in Mid 40’s… Half View President Favorably
So, what does all of this mean for the president’s overall job approval rating? Voters divide. 45% approve of how Mr. Obama is performing in office while 47% disapprove. Eight percent are unsure. In McClatchy-Marist’s April survey, 44% thought highly of how the president was doing in office, 49% disapproved, and 6%, at the time, were unsure.
President Obama continues to struggle with independent voters. A slim majority of these voters — 51% — disapprove of the president’s job performance while 39% approve. 10% are unsure. Little has changed among independent voters since April. At that time, 51% disapproved of the president’s job performance, 42% approved, and 8% were unsure.
When it comes to Mr. Obama’s favorability, half of voters — 50% — think well of him while 44% have a less than stellar impression of him. Six percent are unsure. In April, when 48% had a favorable view of the president, 48% also held an unfavorable impression of Mr. Obama, and 5% were unsure.
Capitol Failures? Many Disapprove of Congressional Democrats and Republicans
President Obama’s job approval rating isn’t the only one that’s struggling. Registered voters are voicing their dissatisfaction with Democrats and Republicans in Congress. 63% say they disapprove of the job Republicans are doing in office while 27% approve. 10% are unsure. There is relatively no change on this question since April. At that time, 63% disapproved of how Republicans in office were doing their job, 30% approved, and 7% were unsure.
Democrats in Congress don’t fare any better. 60% of registered voters give them a thumbs-down while 30% praise the job they are doing. 10% are unsure. In April, 60% disapproved of their job performance, 34% approved, and 6%, at that time, were unsure.
Americans Pessimistic about Nation’s Direction
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.