12/8: Economic Tides Turn for Obama

For the first time since President Barack Obama took office, a majority of registered voters nationwide — 51% — disapprove of the way the president is handling the economy. 45%, on the other hand, approve of his financial management.

downward pointing arrow over money


When Marist last asked about Obama’s handling of the economy in October, the electorate was divided.  48% thought the president’s management was on track while 47% believed he was off the mark.  The perception of Mr. Obama’s economic prowess has been on the decline.  In August, a slim majority — 52% — thought he was handling the economy well.  Prior to that time, the president received majority support for his dealing with the economy.

Click Here for Complete December 8, 2009 USA Poll Release and Tables

Partisanship is in play on this issue.  75% of Democrats say the president is managing the economy well while 84% of Republicans report he is dropping the ball. When it comes to Independent voters, 55% disapprove of Obama’s economic vision while 40% approve.

Table: Handling the Economy

Unemployment Picture Bleak

President Obama is making unemployment a top priority in his administration, and his actions couldn’t come at a better time.  More than three-quarters of Americans — 77% — continue to report that they know someone who has lost a job during the last six months.

Table: Do you know someone who has lost their job in the last six months?

Economic Future Status Quo?

Most U.S. residents do not think their own economic situation will improve in the near future. 45% of Americans think that in the upcoming year, economically, they will be about the same as they are now.  26% report they will be worse off, and 29% say they will be better off.   When Marist last asked this question at this time last year, half of Americans thought their economic circumstances would stay the same, 24% believed they would be worse off, and 26% said they would be better off.

Table: Economic Situation in Upcoming Year
Table: Economic Situation in Upcoming Year (2008)

Economic Conditions Still Inherited, But Is There a Crack in Obama’s Armor?

Although 65% of registered voters say that the President has inherited the nation’s current economic conditions, that silver lining for Mr. Obama may be tarnishing.  In October, 70% reported that the troubled economy was dumped in the president’s lap.  Republicans account for the change here.  Currently, the GOP divides with 45% saying the nation’s troubled economy is a result of the president’s own policies.  42%, however, report he inherited them from his predecessor.  Two months ago, a slim majority of Republicans — 51% — thought the president inherited the country’s economic situation while 41% said it was a result of the president’s own policies.

“The issue of whether the economic problems are President Obama’s doing or still a carryover from President Bush will be critical in how voters approach the 2010 midterm elections,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Poll.

Table: Current Economic Conditions Inherited

Marist Poll Methodology

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