For the first time since taking office, half of registered voters nationwide — 50% — disapprove of President Barack Obama’s job performance. That’s according to this McClatchy-Marist Poll. 45%, however, approve, and 5% are unsure.
While the proportion of voters who approve of the job the president is doing changed little since Marist last asked about it in June, there has been a slight increase in the proportion of voters who disapprove of the job Mr. Obama is doing. At that time, voters divided. 45% disapproved of Mr. Obama’s job performance while 44% approved. 11% were unsure.
“Although President Obama’s approval rating is largely unchanged, the number of those who disapprove of his job performance has grown since our last poll,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “This is also reflected in whether he has met voter expectations. Younger voters are especially disappointed when it comes to their hopes for the president.”
Views of the president’s job performance are partisan. Looking first at Democratic voters, 81% approve of the job the president is doing while 15% disapprove. 4% are unsure. In Marist’s June survey, 75% of Democrats approved, 14% disapproved, and 11% were unsure.
Not surprisingly, most Republican voters disapprove of Mr. Obama’s job performance. 82% have this view compared with 13% who approve. 6% are unsure. Three months ago, 78% of the national GOP said they did not like the way the president was performing in office, 14% approved, and 8% were unsure.
A majority of independent voters — 54% — now disapprove of President Obama’s job performance. This compares with 40% who approve and 6% who are unsure. When Marist last asked voters nationally about the president’s job approval rating, 49% of independents disapproved, 37% approved, and 15% were unsure.
It’s no surprise that voters’ views toward the future of the economy are related to the president’s job performance. 68% of voters who believe the worst is yet to come with regard to the U.S. economy disapprove of Mr. Obama’s job performance while 67% who say the worst is behind us approve.
Majority View Obama as Falling Below Expectations
President Obama is facing another unpleasant first. For the first time since becoming president, a majority of voters — 54% — report the president has fallen below their expectations. This is compared with 44% who say Mr. Obama has either met or exceeded their expectations. 2% are unsure.
According to Marist’s June poll, half of registered voters reported the president fell short while 44% thought he met or exceeded their expectations. 6% were unsure.
Among voters who have a more pessimistic view about the U.S. economy, 62% think the president has fallen short while a majority of those who are more optimistic — 53% — say he has either met or exceeded their expectations.
And, President Obama may have campaigned on the platform of change, but the change he is affecting is perceived by a plurality of voters nationwide — 41% — as change for the worse. 37%, though, believe Mr. Obama is changing the nation for the better while 21% think there has been no change at all. Just 1% are unsure.
In Marist’s June survey, voters divided. 38% thought the president was changing the United States for the better, and 38% reported he was changing the nation for the worse. 21% thought he did not create any change. 3% were unsure.
Once again, the economy comes into play. 58% of those who think the nation’s economy will get worse report the president has changed the nation for the worse while 59% who say the worst of the nation’s economic problems are behind us believe he has changed the country for the better.
President’s Favorability Below 50% … Increase in Those With Unfavorable View
To compound matters for the president, there has been an increase in those who have an unfavorable view of him. 49% of voters have a favorable impression of Mr. Obama compared with 48% who have an unfavorable one. 3% are unsure. In Marist’s June survey, half of the electorate perceived the president positively while 43% held him in lower esteem. 7% were unsure.
Rave Reviews for Michelle Obama
65% of the national electorate have a favorable view of First Lady Michelle Obama while nearly one-fourth — 24% — have an unfavorable impression of her. 11% are unsure.
When Marist asked this question last December, 68% thought well of Mrs. Obama while 20% said they were not fans. 12%, at the time, were unsure.
Most Democratic voters — 84% — and nearly two-thirds of independent voters — 66% — view Mrs. Obama in a positive light. 46% of Republicans think well of Michelle Obama.
Just Call Him, “Unfavorable Joe”
Looking at Vice President Joe Biden’s favorability rating, a plurality of voters — 46% — have an unfavorable impression of Mr. Biden while 39% view him in a positive light. 15% are unsure.
Not surprisingly, there is a partisan divide on this question. 67% of Democrats view Biden favorably while 69% of Republicans have an unfavorable impression of him. However, even 19% of Democrats have a negative opinion of Biden. A majority of independent voters — 52% — have an unfavorable view of the vice president.
Romney Rooted On by One-Fourth in Primary Matchup
The list of potential Republicans to challenge President Obama in 2012 is long, but there is little agreement among the national GOP and independent voters who are leaning Republican about who that candidate should be.
If the 2012 Republican presidential primary were held today, one-quarter of registered Republican voters and independent voters who are leaning Republican — 25% — say they would vote for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin receives the support of 18% while former Georgia Congressman Newt Gingrich is buoyed by 16%. An additional 16% of Republican voters including Republican leaning independents report they would back former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, and 6% would cast their ballot for Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels receives 4%, and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour garners just 2% nationwide. 13% are unsure.
Lee Miringoff discusses the midterm elections: