Harris poll puts Obama approval at 45%

Barack Obama might have hoped that an unexpected Nobel Peace Prize might halt his slide in the polls. Not so, says the latest Harris interactive poll, conducted over the last week. The survey contacted over 2200 adults on line, and his numbers dropped significantly from September’s poll, giving Obama an unfavorability rating of -10:

President Obama may have won the Nobel Peace Prize, but unfortunately, he is not winning accolades from the American public as his job approval rating continues its downward slide. In September, U.S. adults were split almost evenly on the job the President has been doing – 49% gave him positive ratings and 51% gave him negative ratings. This month, the number giving him positive ratings drops to 45% while over half of Americans (55%) give him negative ratings. ….

The approval ratings of the president by Democrats and Republicans are as one would expect with 77% of Democrats giving President Obama positive ratings compared to 14% of Republicans. Independents, however, are more down on the president as 60% give him negative ratings while 40% give him positive marks on his overall job performance.

The White House should also be concerned about weakness in some of President Obama’s strongest supporters. During the election, Echo Boomers (those aged 18-32) were the strongest age group supporting the president. Now they are of mixed minds on his performance as just over half (51%) give the president positive ratings and 49% give him negative ratings. The oldest generation, Matures (those aged 64 and older) are even more negative with just 39% giving President Obama positive marks and 61% giving him negative marks.

Harris gives Obama one minor point of consolation — his numbers are better than that of Congress. That’s almost always the case anyway; George Bush at his lowest point in the polls scored better than Congress. However, the Harris poll found a peak approval rating for Congress in May of 31%. It has been cut almost in half since then to 16%.

Otherwise, though, the numbers look pretty bleak. The percentage of voters rating Obama “excellent” peaked in April at 18%, but has now dropped to 10%. “Pretty good” has come in for a softer landing, from 42% in May to 35% now. “Poor” has almost doubled from April’s 15% to October’s 28%, while “only fair” has remained constant over the last seven months at around the current 27%.

As the Harris summary mentions, the only age group Obama wins is the youngest (18-32), and only barely at 51%/49%, and only 10% of these think Obama has done an “excellent” job. He loses the other three age categories by wide margins, from 10 points to 22 points. Most troubling for Obama and Democrats as they close out their first year of single-party control of DC are the independents. Obama has a -20 favorability gap among unaffiliated voters, with only 6% rating him as “excellent” while 28% rate him “poor”.

Harris did not poll on individual issues as some other surveys do. However, given the timing of Obama’s decline in the Harris poll over the year, it suggests that Obama has seriously miscalculated on the overhaul of the American health-care system — and the longer that drags out, the worse he does.

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