Obama hits new Q-poll low, 42/52

Forget about a Hurricane Irene bump.  Barack Obama’s display of leadership didn’t do anything to reverse his downhill polling momentum, as today’s Quinnipiac survey results show.  Obama hit a new low in this series, scoring only a 42% approval rating in polling conducted before and during the hurricane:

President Barack Obama’s overall job approval rating has sunk to an all-time low, as American voters disapprove 52 – 42 percent, compared to 47 – 46 percent approval in July, and among whites and men his approval has dropped into the 30s, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Congressional leaders rate even lower in the public eye.

Voters nationwide are more pessimistic about the economy, saying 49 – 11 percent that it is getting worse rather than improving, a precipitous drop from a July 14 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University, in which voters said 32 – 23 percent the economy was worsening and January 18, when voters said 36 – 20 percent it was improving. …

“President Barack Obama has hit a low 42 percent approval in the past, but this is his highest disapproval rating. Ominous for him is that the share of voters who think he has strong leadership qualities has dropped from 64 – 33 percent in January to 50 – 48 percent now. Voters say 54 – 42 percent that he cares about their problems, but that is not impressive since it is a measure on which Democratic presidents historically rate well,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

“When Quinnipiac University asked that question about Obama in November of 2008, he received a 70 – 22 percent positive score on understanding the needs of average folks.”

The internals show serious problems for Obama’s re-election.  His approval rating among the independents that were the key to his 2008 victory has sunk to 40/54, and he’s under water among both men (39/56) and women (44/49).  He only has an edge in age demographics among the youngest voters — and a weak edge at 49/43 — but has majority disapprovals among voters 35 years and older.

Respondents still assign more blame for the economy to George W. Bush than Barack Obama, 53/32, but that’s becoming irrelevant.  Obama’s policies score slightly worse than his job approval, 41/53, and that especially applies to his economic policies.  He gets a disastrous 32/62 on his handling of economic policy, down twelve points in the gap since July (38/56) and the worst showing of his presidency. He loses almost every demographic in this question, even Hispanic voters (42/51), young voters (33/62), and especially independents (27/66).

Voters may think that Bush should get more blame than Obama, but they also think that Obama’s not the man to solve the problem.  Mitt Romney now edges him 46/42 in head-to-head polling on the economy, and Rick Perry has moved within 2 points of Obama, 41/43, despite only being in the race three weeks.

Interestingly, Obama is now underwater on foreign policy, too, at 44/47.  His previous low was in March of this year, when Obama committed the US to war in Libya, but for the most part Obama has had decent approval ratings in this area.  Apparently the fall of Moammar Qaddafi hasn’t given him much of  a bump, and people aren’t as impressed with the Osama bin Laden mission as they once were.

For the first time, Obama is beginning to also have problems in his favorability ratings.  His rating is a flat 47/47, but among independents Obama has slipped slightly underwater at 45/48.  He scores well under water with Protestants (28/66), evangelicals (21/72), and even Catholics (39/55), and the only age group that has a positive favorability rating is 18-34YOs at a relatively weak 52/40.

The dip in favorability means that Obama’s teflon coating on personal approval is peeling away under the intense heat of a failed economics program.  His personal numbers had been his armor, and his one hope for appealing to voters to give him another chance to get things right.  These results show an electorate that has tired of Obama and is looking for a better approach to Presidential leadership.