Bad Economy And Low Ratings: President Obama Drops To 40% Approval Rating

August 19, 2011, 5:00 PM GMT+0

Continuing fears about a worsening economy have brought President Obama’s approval ratings only a point above their all-time low. In the latest Economist/YouGov Poll only 40% approve of the way the President is handling his job -nearing his all-time low rating measured last December.

The President’s approval rating, which had hovered in the low-to mid-forties earlier this year, trended slightly downward this summer, as economic worries grew. This week’s poll was conducted after last week’s gyrations in stock market prices following the lowering of the United States credit rating by Standard & Poor’s and
months of high unemployment and slow economic growth. And the questions about the economy -and the Obama Administration’s responsibility for its current situation -show worsening opinions and more blame for the President.

In the last ten months, the percentage of Americans who say the policies of the Obama Administration have hurt the economy generally, and the middle class, the poor and the stock market specifically, have soared. Majorities believe current Ad-ministration policies have hurt the first three, and 46% believe they have hurt the stock market. In each case, the percentage attributing a negative impact to the current Administration has jumped since the last time the question was asked.

Do you think that so far the policies of the Obama Administration have helped or hurt...*

*Table displays proportions selecting ’hurt’

The Economy



The Stock Market



The Middle Class



The Poor



Fewer than one in five now think the current Administration has helped in each case.

This Administration is more likely to be viewed as helping corporations and better-off people. More than a third believe that Administration policies have helped major corporations, banks and financial institutions, and the rich. In fact, the percentage saying Administration policies have helped the rich has nearly doubled since last
October. One in four say Administration policies have hurt those groups. Feelings about the impact on labor unions are more mixed; 29% say they have helped, 22% say they have hurt.

Even more people this week than last think the economy overall is getting worse. 57% say that now, the highest percentage since March 2009, two months after President Obama assumed office.

As for the President’s overall handling of the economy, this week only 28% approve, matching last week’s all-time low.

There has also been a toll on some specific perceptions of the President: fewer this week than last say they would describe him as either decisive or effective. This week, just 16% would use the word ’decisive’ to describe Barack Obama, a drop of eight points from last week. Even fewer, 14%, would call him ’effective,’ down seven points in a week. In each case, a third or more would not use each word to describe the President.

While Obama’s approval remains at near record lows with few having faith in his effectiveness as a leader; Obama faces a difficult task in his Midwest bus tour. In another record low for Obama, only 42% think he says what he believes. 58% think that Obama is only saying ’what he thinks people wan to hear.’

Those who believe the US is on the ’wrong track’ is at an all time low during the Obama administration. Only 12% say the country is on the right direction, a pessimism outpacing Obama’s lackluster approval.

Economist/YouGov poll archives can found here.

Photo source: Press Association

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