Obama Approval Slips Back Under 50 Percent (POLL)

PHOTO: President Barack Obama speaks at a news conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Nov. 22, 2015.Susan Walsh/AP PHOTO
President Barack Obama speaks at a news conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Nov. 22, 2015.

Turmoil abroad isn’t helping President Obama at home: After a brief rally the last few months, his job approval rating slipped back under 50 percent in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll.

Forty-six percent of Americans now approve of Obama’s job performance, while 50 percent disapprove. That’s a 5-point decline in the president’s approval rating from a month ago, when it exceeded the halfway mark for the first time since May 2013.

See PDF with full results here.

The president has lost 5 percentage points or more poll-to-poll just six times in 67 ABC/Post surveys measuring his job approval rating since he took office.

The economy, often the prime factor in evaluations of Obama’s performance, seems less significant at the moment: Forty-eight percent approve of his handling of the economy, but that’s held essentially steady all year, so seems not to explain his 5-point dip in approval overall.

Instead, concerns about terrorism seem to be damaging Obama’s overall ratings. As reported in an ABC/Post poll Friday, disapproval of his handling of terrorism has increased from 45 percent in January to 54 percent now, a career worst on what had been his best issue in his first term. Fifty-seven percent disapprove of his handling of ISIS in particular. On both items, strong disapproval is high.

Obama’s overall approval rating has taken a hit in some key groups in this poll, conducted for ABC News by Langer Research Associates. He’s lost 9 points since October among Democrats and nonwhites alike, to 77 percent approval within his party and 69 percent among nonwhites, a core Democratic constituency. He gets just 34 percent approval from whites.

The president’s rating among all adults is 6 points better than his career low, 40 percent just more than a year ago. He’s in far better shape that was George W. Bush at this point in his presidency, 33 percent approval, but worse than Bill Clinton’s 59 percent.

Among other groups, about six in 10 young adults and urban residents approve of Obama’s job performance, compared with 42 percent of all those age 30-plus and 29 percent of those living in rural areas. Liberal Democrats approve by a broad 86-12 percent. Among conservative Republicans, the president’s approval rating plummets to 9 percent.


This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone Nov. 16-19, 2015, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,004 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 33-23-36 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York, N.Y. See details on the survey’s methodology here.