New poll indicates Barack Obama's approval rating under 50%

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A new survey released today suggests that US President Barack Obama's approval rating has fallen below 50% for the first time in his presidency.

The poll, released by Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, shows Obama's approval rating at 48% among registered voters, down two percent from last month.

The survey shows that support for the president's handling of the war in Afghanistan has also dropped, from 52% last month to 48% now, and also indicated that 43% approved of the president's handling of the economy, down from 47% in October.

The survey found Obama more popular among women, with 52% of those surveyed approving of the president's performance, compared to 47% among men.

It also suggests the president has wide support among blacks and Hispanics – with 89% of African Americans and 62% of Hispanics backing him; however, according to the poll 49% of whites disapprove of his job performance. According to the poll, the president's approval dropped as age and income increased.

"Although President Obama's job approval rating is below 50% for the first time nationally, it is not statistically different from his 50% approval rating in October. Nevertheless, in politics symbols matter and this is not a good symbol for the White House," said the assistant director for the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, Peter Brown.

"Increasingly, the President finds himself with two different coalitions, one that backs him on domestic matters and a completely different one that backs him on Afghanistan. That could create a challenge to his considerable political skills," he continued. "One reason the President's approval for his handling of the Afghanistan situation may be falling is the criticism he is not deciding on troop levels quickly enough."

The Quinnipiac poll was conducted among 2,518 registered voters nationwide between November 9 and November 16. It had a margin of error of plus or minus two percent.