Rasmussen has had Barack Obama under water for weeks on job-approval ratings, but usually they’re a leading indicator.  Quinnipiac now shows the same trend, with Obama dropping below 50% approval for the first time in their poll series.  Bloomberg reports that voters have lost confidence in Obama on a wide range of issues as well:

President Barack Obama’s approval rating has fallen below 50 percent for the first time in polling by Quinnipiac University as U.S. voter discontent grows over the war in Afghanistan.

Obama’s job approval rating fell to 48 percent in the Nov. 9-16 survey of registered voters nationwide by the Hamden, Connecticut-based university, with 42 percent polled saying they disapproved of the job he is doing.

“In politics, symbols matter, and this is not a good symbol for the White House,” Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said in a statement.

Obama’s approval rating was 59 percent in a Quinnipiac survey conducted Feb. 25 to March 2.

Rasmussen surveys likely voters, while Gallup and others usually use the broadest measure, adults. Quinnipiac’s survey of registered voters makes this more predictive than most, and explains why they see the same trend over a longer period as Rasmussen.

Obama also lost ground on issues, especially the economy.  In October, Obama only garnered a 47% approval on the economy; now it’s 43%.  Disapproval on Afghanistan rose to 49%, up seven points in a month. Both are issues on which Obama has tried to be seen as taking charge, and Americans increasingly wonder if he’s up to the task.

Quinnipiac has not released the polling data yet.  When they do, I’ll have more analysis.  For now, though, Obama has certainly started heading into some troubling territory, and if his numbers remain mired at this level, Democrats in Congress will have to worry whether Obama will hurt more than he will help in what will be a tough mid-term election.

Update: Quinnipiac has released the poll data, and it’s very, very interesting:

  • Economy: 43/52, 47/46 in October – independents 38/58
  • Foreign policy: 49/42, 49/37 in October – independents 45/49
  • Afghanistan: 38/49, 42/40 in October – inds 30/57

Those independent numbers are looking worse and worse for Democrats.