Obama Loses 20 Points in Five Weeks in National Approval Poll

Politics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 7, 2011   |   10:08AM   |   Washington, DC

President Barack Obama has lost 20 percent of his approval rating in the course of five weeks in a national poll conducted by the Washington Post. The survey shows that Obama’s bounce he received after Osama bin Ladin’s death has dissipated.

Five weeks after receiving a net positive 18 percent approval rating in the Washington Post poll following the killing of the terrorist mastermind, Obama’s approval rating returned to its pre-bin Ladin status. Obama’s approval rating from the last poll was 56-38 positive versus negative. Now, 47 percent of the American public approves of his job performance while 49 percent disapprove — almost identical to the 47-50 percentage point split Obama saw in mid-April.

That 20 percent decline represents a short-term memory of the bin Ladin killing and, according to the Washington Post, is an indicator that the negative economy is driving public opinion.

“The survey portrays a broadly pessimistic mood in the country this spring as higher gasoline prices, sliding home values and a disappointing employment picture have raised fresh concerns about the pace of the economic recovery,” the Post reports. “By 2 to 1, Americans say the country is pretty seriously on the wrong track, and nine in 10 continue to rate the economy in negative terms. Nearly six in 10 say the economy has not started to recover, regardless of what official statistics may say, and most of those who say it has improved rate the recovery as weak.”

“Overall, about six in 10 of those surveyed give Obama negative marks on the economy and the deficit. Significantly, nearly half strongly disapprove of his performance in these two crucial areas. Nearly two-thirds of political independents disapprove of the president’s handling of the economy, including — for the first time — a slim majority who do so strongly,” the Post indicated. “In another indicator of rapidly shifting views on economic issues, 45 percent trust congressional Republicans over the president when it comes to dealing with the economy, an 11-point improvement for the GOP since March.”

Obama’s lagging numbers make it so he has lost the lead he previously held against one of the top Republican contenders for the GOP presidential nomination to take on the abortion advocate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Currently, Obama and Romney are knotted at 47 percent among all adults but Romney leads 49-47 percent among registered voters.

Although Obama leads other potential Republican nominees, the poll shows him losing ground to Newt Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty. There were no substantial changes in his lead against Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachmann. When it comes to Palin, the Post poll doesn’t have good news — as two-thirds of all Americans say they “definitely would not” vote for Palin for president, including 42 percent of Republicans.

Ed Morrissey of Hot Air says the polling sample makes it so Obama’s numbers are likely worse than the Post poll shows.

“The D/R/I in the April poll sample was a ridiculous 32/22/41.  This sample has a slightly better split, although still skewed at 31/25/39, which still undersamples Republicans,” he explained. “In a sample more reflective of reality, Obama’s job approval would be lower than the 47% shown here, and he’d be in deeper trouble against Republican challengers than this shows.”

The Post telephone poll was conducted June 2-5 among a random national sample of 1,002 adults. The results from the full survey have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

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