Deficit Troubles -President Obama’s Economic Approval At An All-Time New Low

August 11, 2011, 5:00 PM GMT+0

There are no winners in days after Congress debated but finally raised the U.S. debt ceiling: Congressional approval is in single digits, more than seven in ten Americans think the country is on the wrong track and the percentage saying the economy is worsening is near a record high. And the President is not immune: only 28% in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll approve of the way he is handling the economy. 

The President has not had a lot of positive response recently on this measure: approval has hovered in the mid to low 30’s most of the year. But this week’s poll shows a drop of six points from the approval rating on this measure just in the last week. This week’s poll was conducted AFTER Standard & Poor’s lowered the credit rating of the United States from AAA to AA+, the first time that has ever happened since the ratings began. While a majority of Democrats (52%) continue to approve of how the President is handing the economy, Republican approval is only 3%, and just 24% of independents approve.

There is a rising of economic concern. 44% say it is the country’s most important issue, the highest percentage all year. Asked if the economy is getting better or worse, 56% say it is getting worse, up five points in the last week, and at a level not seen since the very beginning of the Obama Administration. 

In fact, 71% believe the country is off on the wrong track, nearly at last week’s all-time high. Only 13% say the country is on the right track.

The toll on the assessment of the President goes beyond the drop in approval of his handling of the economy. When it comes to believing what he says, there is more doubt this week. 56% say that he is more likely to say what people want to hear; only 44% think he mostly says what he really believes. In addition, favorable views of him have dropped. Last week, 45% had a favorable impression the President. This week, 41% do.

However, despite the drop in assessment of the economy, and the drop in other perceptions, the President’s overall approval rating remains steady, though low. In this week’s poll, 41% approve of the way Barack Obama is handling his job. 53% disapprove. 

If there is any consolation for the President, it is that Congress fares even worse with the public than he does. Despite the agreement to raise the debt ceiling, half the country thinks this Congress has accomplished less than Congresses usually do at this point in their term. And Congressional approval is only 9%. 

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