Independent Voters Taking Sides On President Obama's Job Performance

May 04, 2012, 12:00 PM GMT+0

(Week of 4/28/2012) Strong majorities of Democrats approve of President Obama’s job performance on every issue in this week’s Economist/YouGov poll, from three-quarters support or more from Democrats on Obama’s performance on terrorism, Iraq, health care and taxes, plus more than two-thirds support on Afghanistan, the economy, the environment, Medicare and Social Security, and with solid support from Democrats even on the budget deficit, immigration, abortion and gay rights.

Republicans, of course, are a different story. With exception of a few foreign policy issues (terrorism, Iraq and Afghanistan), only 15% or fewer Republicans support Obama’s job performance on any issue.

Independents hold sway. At this point, Independents are roughly halfway between the approval ratings of Democrats and Republicans on many issues.

Independents are closer to the Republican levels of opprobrium than to the heights of Democratic praise on issues such as education, the budget deficit and immigration. That’s where the Romney campaign would like to isolate Democrats and make common cause with Independents in criticism of Obama (although that will be harder on education, where 40% of Independents support Obama’s performance.)

Job approval ratings of Independents are closer to the views of Democrats than the views of Republicans on only one issue tested: Gay rights.