Pew: Obama’s Poll Numbers are Slipping

By Jennifer Parker

Mar 16, 2009 12:37pm

Following up on Friday’s debate over Obama’s poll numbers, top independent pollster Andy Kohut of the Pew Research Center weighs in with this:

President Barack Obama’s approval rating has slipped, as a growing number of Americans see him listening more to his party’s liberals than to its moderates, and many voice opposition to some of his key economic proposals. Obama’s job approval rating has slipped from 64% in February to 59% currently, while disapproval has jumped from 17% to 26% over this period. Disapproval of Obama has increased markedly among Republicans (by 15 points) as well as among independents (13 points).

By 44% to 30%, the public now sees Obama listening more to liberal Democrats rather than to moderate Democrats. This is a reversal from January when 44% said he was listening more to moderates in the Democratic Party, while 34% said he was listening more to the party’s liberals.

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted March 9-12 among 1,308 adults reached on landlines and cell phones, finds that most people think the new president is doing as much as he can to fix the economy. But the public expresses mixed views of his many major proposals to fix the economy:

There continues to be broad support for increased spending on infrastructure, and most have positive views of key aspects of his budget plan – reducing taxes on middle and lower-income households and raising taxes on the affluent. Yet a majority (52%) says it is wrong to change the Medicare prescription drug plan so that upper-income retirees would pay more. And nearly as many (47%) express a negative view of reducing agricultural subsidies for many farms, as Obama has proposed in his budget plan.
The public remains divided over spending billions to help homeowners who are facing foreclosure on mortgages they cannot afford – 46% say this is the right thing for the government to be doing while an identical percentage says it is wrong. And the prospect of providing loans to struggling automakers GM and Chrysler, which was unpopular in December, has become even more so: Just 30% say it is right for the government to provide loans to the automakers, down from 39% three months ago.

The Republican Party’s doldrums are clearly evident in the new survey. Just 28% approve of the job being done by Republican congressional leaders, the lowest rating for GOP leaders in nearly 14 years of Pew Research surveys. The party is seen as leaderless by the public and members of the party: Barely a quarter (27%) of the public, including just 32% of Republicans, can name someone who they think of as the leader of the Republican Party these days.

Full survey on Pew’s website.

–George Stephanopoulos

UPDATE: Today, ABC’s Polling Director Gary Langer says that Pew’s findings are consistent with other credible polls. Langer says Obama’s public approval decline has occurred among Republicans and independents.

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