Marist poll puts Obama approval at 44%

The latest Marist poll conducted for its media partner McClatchy doesn’t improve much on methodology over the WaPo/ABC poll released earlier this morning.  Its sample has a +8 advantage for Democrats with a D/R/I of 35/27/36, which oversamples Democrats at the expense of the GOP.  In the end, though, it delivers the same bad news to Barack Obama, which is that his approval ratings have declined markedly in just three months, and that the damage appears to be mainly from Democrats:

According to this McClatchy-Marist Poll, many registered voters nationwide are not pleased with how President Barack Obama is handling the federal budget deficit.  And, there’s more bad news for the president.  President Obama’s job approval rating is stagnating, and his favorability rating isn’t much better.  Many voters also view the country as moving in the wrong direction.  But, the dissatisfaction isn’t being laid only at the gates of the White House.  Most voters disapprove of the job both the Democrats and Republicans are doing in Congress.

Almost half (46%) of the survey took place after Obama’s speech on the budget deficit last week.  It didn’t give Obama much of a bounce, with 61% disapproving of Obama’s performance on the budget:

President Obama laid out his plan to deal with the budget deficit last Wednesday.  And, while there was a slight bounce in those who approve of how the president is handling the federal deficit after his speech, voters remain pessimistic.  Prior to the president’s address at George Washington University, 31% approved of how he is dealing with the deficit compared with 38% who report the same after he outlined his plan.

When it comes to Mr. Obama’s overall job performance, voters remain tepid.  Currently, 44% of registered voters approve of how the president is doing in office compared with 49% who disapprove.  Six percent are unsure.

Obama has dropped significantly since January, when he had a 48/43 rating.  He has lost ten points in the gap, and that decline hasn’t come from Republicans.  A majority of independents now disapprove of Obama’s overall performance (51%), up from 44% in January.  He has also lost seven points among Democrats, although he still gets a 77% rating from his own party.  Republican disapproval ticked up slightly from 83% in January to 87% today.

More problematic is the pessimism that Obama faces as his economic policies run dry.  The percentage who believe that America is moving in the wrong direction jumped dramatically from January’s 47% to 64% today.  Among independents, that number went up 16 points from 51% to 67%.  But perhaps most surprisingly, the number went up highest among Democrats, going from 23% in January to a near-majority 44% today.

On policy, though, American voters are a little … confused.  The highest priority by far in the poll is to reduce the deficit, which 57% of respondents selected.  How do they want to accomplish it?  Not through cuts in services.  Eighty percent oppose Medicare/Medicaid cuts, including a whopping 68% of self-described conservatives.  At the same time, more than two-thirds oppose raising the debt ceiling (24/69), including 50% of self-described liberals.  Military spending cuts are opposed by a small majority, 44/54.

So how should we cut the deficit?  Soak the rich, of course.  Tax hikes on incomes above $250,000 are broadly popular, 64/33 overall and a majority among all demographics except Republicans, Tea Party supporters, and conservatives.  Even among those, opposition isn’t exactly overwhelming; it’s 43/54, 45/53, and 45/53, respectively.

Given that, it’s perhaps a little surprising that Obama does as poorly as he does in this poll.  He sounds just as confused as voters on the amount of money a soak-the-rich tax will produce and just as unrealistic about continuing the current structure of entitlement programs as the electorate is.

Update: I had the D/R/I as 37/25/36, but it should have been 35/27/36.  I’ve corrected it, and thanks to VegConservative for pointing it out.