October 14, 2009
10/14: Obama’s Approval Rating 53%…Loss Among Independents
President Barack Obama maintains the support of a majority of registered voters nationwide. However, he continues to slide in the eyes of Independent voters. Currently, 53% of voters approve of the job the president is doing in office while 41% disapprove. When Marist last asked about President Obama in August, 55% gave the president their stamp of approval. Similar proportions of voters thought this way in Marist’s June, April 27th, and April 8th surveys — 56%, 55%, and 56%, respectively.
There has been little change among Democrats and Republicans. Most Democrats nationally — 84% — approve of Mr. Obama’s performance. In August, 90% of voters in the president’s party rated him highly. Across the aisle, Republicans have also remained steady in their views. 74% of Republicans disapprove of the president’s performance compared with 71% two months ago.
However, the president’s rating among Independent voters continues to erode. These members of the electorate currently divide with 45% approving of the president’s job performance and 47% disapproving. Worse yet for the president is that his disapproval rating has increased among this important voting group. In Marist’s August survey, 47% of Independents approved of his performance while 37% thought Mr. Obama could be doing a better job. That August survey marked the first time the president did not receive support from a majority of Independents since taking office.
And, there is a gender gap within the Independent party. 49% of women who are Independent voters think the president is doing a good job compared with 42% of men in this voting block. In fact, 50% of men who are Independents think the president is not meeting their standards. 43% of women also disapprove. This gender gap reflects the difference between the sexes in the overall electorate. The president garners more support among women. 55% approve of the president’s job performance while 38% disapprove. On the other hand, 50% of men applaud the president while 45% are critical of him.
Age makes a difference, as well. Voters under the age of 45 are more likely to say the president is on the mark than voters who are older.
Change for the Better? Less Than Half Think So… Independents Make Difference
46% of voters nationwide think President Obama is having a positive impact on the nation while 34% believe he is changing the country for the worse. 18% say he has made no change at all. When Marist last asked this question in August, half of voters thought Mr. Obama was improving the nation, and 31% believed he was making the country worse.
As seen in the president’s approval rating, Independent voters account for the difference. These voters divide. 38% report the president is having a positive effect and 39% say he is making things worse. Two months ago, 42% thought President Obama was bringing about change for the better, and 33% said he was not.
A Nation Divides About the Course of the Country
In general, when it comes to how things are going in the United States, Americans divide. 47% think the country is moving in the right direction, and 47% say it is moving along the wrong path. More residents have a pessimistic view of the nation’s trajectory since Marist last asked this question in August. 50% of Americans, at that time, reported the country was on track compared with 42% who thought it needed to be redirected.
Similar proportions of registered voters share the population’s divided views. And, here again, Independents are the reason. Currently, nearly six in ten Independent voters — 58% — think the nation is moving in the wrong direction. 37% say it is moving in the right direction. This is a vast difference from August’s survey when 45% reported the nation was moving in the right direction, and 48% reported it was taking a wrong turn.