December 8, 2009
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.