Yes, it’s an Internet poll, which is a tricky survey to successfully accomplish, which makes it perhaps less reliable than phone interviews or robocallers. However, The Economist is a well established media source, and not all of the data in it will make the Right happy, and it is a survey that at least can be compared to many earlier iterations for trends. And in this case, the trend is looking grim for Barack Obama in the latest YouGov/Economist survey taken last week, which shows Obama at a 42% approval rating among all adults, with 49% disapproving (via Pollster).
The internals don’t look much better even when moving to registered voters, where the split is 43/49:
This won’t be easily read, so I’ll break it down a bit. The only age demographic Obama is holding is younger voters, where he gets an approval rating of 53/35, with 12% unsure. Only 15.6% of younger voters express enthusiasm for Obama, however, which means that’s a weak kind of support; more express strong disapproval in that demographic (16.9%) than strong approval. It gets much worse from there. The middle age demographic rates him at 42/51, and seniors have him at a disastrous 27/68.
Not too surprisingly, Democrats back Obama 81/15, while Republicans give him a 7/89 approval. As in other polls, the problem for Obama comes from independents, which rate him a very poor 34/60. He does best in the West with a 51/43 split, with the other three regions of the country about the same: South (41/51), Midwest (40/50), and Northeast (39/50). Obama is underwater among both men and women.
The sample does not include the party affiliation split. However, that may be indicated in the generic Congressional question. This survey comes close to the Gallup polling on this question among registered voters, with Democrats gaining a narrow one-point edge, 45/44. In the general population, that extends to six points, 45/39. Most polling on this has Republicans ahead, which seems to indicate at the least that YouGov/Economist did not overpoll Republicans in this sample.
Given Obama’s poor numbers in this survey — which a year ago had him in a plus-19 position of 54/35 — it seems that Democrats may do slightly better than Obama’s level of popularity in the midterms, but that’s not saying much. If Obama continues to slide, expect those numbers to shift further in the GOP’s direction before November.