Almost 50 points underwater on the seminal issue of the age. If that holds and he figures out a way to get reelected anyway, maybe he really is the messiah.

That had better be some speech next month, champ.

A new low of 26% of Americans approve of President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy, down 11 percentage points since Gallup last measured it in mid-May and well below his previous low of 35% in November 2010.

Obama earns similarly low approval for his handling of the federal budget deficit (24%) and creating jobs (29%).

Note well: Among independents he’s under 50 percent on all seven key metrics, bottoming out in the low 20s on jobs and the economy and in the teens on the deficit.

Over at Rasmussen, the number who say the country’s on the right track stands at a sparkling 15 percent, down 10 points in just a month. If you’re wondering what, specifically, he’s planning to roll out next month to try to turn those numbers around, keep wondering: It’s a “work in progress,” say White House aides, but one senior official tells NBC that they’re going to focus on economic proposals that have had bipartisan support in the past in order to make this a political win/win/win for Obama. If the bill passes and the economy picks up, that’s a win; Obama gets credit for taking the lead. If the bill passes and the economy stays comatose, that’s a qualified win; now he can say that even a plan backed by Republicans was incapable of reviving growth, which means we can’t fairly blame him for the economy. And if the bill doesn’t pass, that’s also a qualified win; now he can escalate his “country first” rhetoric and claim that the only thing standing between America and recovery is the GOP’s opposition to ideas that used to have bipartisan backing. It’s their fault, not his. And then the country can embark on another four years of Hopenchange, secure in the knowledge that once we make Nancy Pelosi Speaker again, everything will be all right.

Via Greg Hengler, here’s Obama on his bus tour today reminding everyone that the economy is in fact in better shape now than when he took office, which is true in the same way it’s true that Japan was in better shape a day after the mega-quake than it was while the ground was actually shaking and buildings were toppling over. Exit question via Mickey Kaus: Is the White House seriously going around to reporters talking about its “leadership brand”? That’s a pitch-perfect parody of the left’s obsession with “messaging,” even on the most fundamental presidential attribute.