Partisan Views of Obama's Economic Performance


Two major polls find a deep partisan split on President Barack Obama's handling of the economy so far

Echoing a strong partisan divide on the issue of health-care policy, the nation's voters are deeply split along party lines on President Barack Obama's handling of economic policy, two major public opinion polls reported on Aug. 12.

According to the Marist Poll, 83% of registered Democrats said they approved of Obama's handling of the economy, while only 18% of Republicans said they approved. Those numbers are similar to what a June poll reported.

Overall, 52% of registered voters said they approve of the way Obama is handling the economy, while 41% disapprove. Again, those numbers are roughly the same as in June, when 53% of voters voiced approval of Obama's performance, and 41% disapproved. In April, 54% of voters said they approved of his handling of the economy.

Similarly, the Gallup Poll reported that 84% of Democrats said they approved of Obama's handling of the economy, while only 13% of Republicans did. Overall, 48% of respondents said they approved of Obama's handling of the economy, while 49% disapproved. Gallup said Obama's rating on the economy has been declining since February, when 59% of respondents said they approved and 30% disapproved.

A Dip in Support from Independents

Gallup said: "Obama's rating on the economy declined the most between May and July, to the point where slightly more Americans gave him a negative than a positive evaluation. In the latest update, his ratings appear to have stabilized."

The Marist Poll indicates Obama is losing ground with independent voters. In the newest poll, 47% of independents approve his handling of the economy, compared with 50% in June and 54% in April. That's echoed in his overall approval rating: In August, 47% of independents said they approve of the job he is doing, while 37% say they disapprove. In June, 51% of independents approved of Obama's performance in office.

As for Obama's overall approval rating, the Marist Poll found 55% of voters said they approved of Obama's performance in office, compared with 35% who said they disapproved. Obama's approval rating has held fairly steady since April, the pollsters reported.

The Gallup Poll reports Obama's approval rating at 54%, with 40% disapproving of his performance so far.

Mintz is news editor for BusinessWeek.com in New York.

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