8/12: Obama Approval Rating 55% … Loses Majority of Independents

While the Obama Administration is embroiled in a bitter battle to get a health care plan pushed through Congress, President Barack Obama is faring well, overall, in the eyes of a majority of voters.  However, the president’s job performance may have lost a bit of its luster for members of one key voting group for the first time since taking office.



55% of U.S. registered voters approve of the job President Barack Obama is doing in office while 35% say they disapprove.  The president has held his own in the court of public opinion during the last few months.  In The Marist Poll’s June survey, the president received a similar job approval rating — 56%.  These proportions are consistent with those Mr. Obama received in April.  In Marist’s April 27th and April 8th surveys, the president received kudos from 55% and 56% of voters, respectively.

But, is President Obama on a slippery slope with Independent voters?  Currently, 47% of Independents nationwide say they approve of the job the president is doing while 37% disapprove.  This is the first time Obama has lost a majority of Independents since taking office.  In June, 51% believed Obama was meeting their standards, and in Marist’s April 27th and April 8th surveys, 54% and 53%, respectively, thought this way.

There is also movement in the GOP camp.  Although a similar proportion of Republicans — 20% — currently approve of the president’s job performance compared with those in June — 23% — more members of the GOP disapprove of Mr. Obama now.  71% today say they are not pleased with the way the president is running the country.  61% shared this view in June.

Looking at the president’s own party, it’s not surprising that most Democrats — 90% — report that President Obama’s job performance is meeting their standards.  This proportion is little changed from Marist’s previous survey.

Although a majority of the U.S. electorate approves of President Obama’s job performance, the president fails to receive a majority of voters who believe he is changing the country for the better.  Half believe this to be the case while 31% say Mr. Obama is changing the nation for the worse.  15% of voters say he is not altering the country at all.  There has been little change on this question since Marist last asked it in June.

Table: Obama Approval Rating
Table: Direction President is Moving the Country

52% Approve of Economic Handling…Obama Does Not Own Economic Conditions

A slim majority of voters — 52% — say they approve of the way President Obama is handling the economy while 41% disapprove. Little has changed since The Marist Poll last asked this question in June.  At that time, 53% reported they agreed with the way the president is dealing with the nation’s turbulent economy while 41% did not.

There is a clear partisan divide on this issue.  83% of Democrats say they approve of Mr. Obama’s methods while just 18% of Republicans agree.  Similar proportions of Democrats and Republicans held these views in June.

As was the case with the president’s job approval rating, there has been a dip in support among Independent voters.  Currently, this group divides with 47% approving of the president’s handling of the economy and 45% disapproving.  In June, half of Independents supported President Obama’s economic tactics, and in early April, even more Independents thought well of Obama’s economic management.  At that time, 54% of Independents approved of Obama’s handling of the economy.

And, while many Republicans in Congress would like to place ownership of the economy and a host of other issues on President Obama’s plate, they may have a difficult time doing so when it comes to the nation’s financial situation.  Nearly three quarters of voters nationwide — 74% — think the president inherited today’s economic conditions while 18% say they are a result of the president’s own policies.  Even a majority of Republicans — 55% — currently report the president is not to blame for today’s economic conditions.

Table: Handling of the Economy
Table: Current Economic Conditions Inherited

Country Moving In Right Direction, According to Half of U.S Residents

50% of Americans believe the nation is moving in the right direction while 42% think the country is on the wrong course.  These survey results are comparable to those found in Marist’s June survey.

Table: Right Direction or Wrong Direction of the Country?

Marist Poll Methodology

Related Stories:

Complete August 12, 2009 USA Release and Tables

Complete June 2009 USA Poll Tables

Obama Approval Rating Trend Table

8/14: Is the Economy Recovering?

The Marist Poll’s Lee Miringoff discusses the latest Obama numbers:

Miringoff discusses Obama’s approval rating when it comes to the economy on the Fox Business Network: