USA Today poll puts Obama approval at 41%

But you’ll have a hell of a time finding it at either USA Today or at Gallup, which partnered with the newspaper for the poll.  The USA Today lead on the survey is that approval for the war in Afghanistan has dropped since the Wikileaks exposure of internal documents from the military, and that decline is notable, a 12-point plummet in just five months from 48% to 36% approval.  But they buried the real lead, which is that Obama is now struggling to keep his approval ratings in the 40s (via Jim Geraghty):

Public support for President Obama’s Afghanistan war policy has plummeted amid a rising U.S. death toll and the unauthorized release of classified military documents, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll shows.

Support for Obama’s management of the war fell to 36%, down from 48% in a February poll. Now, a record 43% also say it was a mistake to go to war there after the terrorist attacks in 2001.

Meanwhile, in the fifth paragraph:

Only 41% of those surveyed Tuesday through Sunday approved of the way Obama is handling his job, his lowest rating in the USA TODAY/Gallup Poll since he took office in January 2009. In Gallup’s separate daily tracking poll, his approval was at 45% Monday.

That’s still better than Gallup, which reports this in the final paragraph before the conclusion.

On Afghanistan, Obama still has a well of support from which to draw.  According to this survey, a majority of respondents don’t believe it was a mistake to go to war in the Af-Pak theater, 52/43.  When Obama took office, that number was 66/30, which means that while Obama still has support and some time to improve, that window may be quickly closing.  Just a couple of weeks ago, the number was 58/38.

The news on Obama’s approval rating gets worse when one considers the sampling.  Gallup surveyed 1200 adults in the general population, not registered or likely voters, a sampling technique that should be more sympathetic to Obama, not less.  Either the Left is abandoning Obama or his decline is picking up steam — or both.  Obama is heading for Bush territory in job approval, which took Bush more than five years to reach.