Friday 22 September 2017

Bin Laden bounce at an end as ratings fall for Obama

Alex Spillius in Washington

The boost Barack Obama enjoyed in the polls after US troops killed Osama bin Laden has evaporated in a month and his approval rating on the economy has reached a new low.

In the latest poll, 59pc of respondents gave the president negative marks for his handling of the economy, up from 55pc a month earlier.

His overall approval rating, which hit 52pc after the al-Qa'ida leader was killed in Pakistan on May 2 has slipped back to its previous level, 47pc.

The 'Washington Post'-ABC poll was taken as a slew of depressing economic figures was released showing unemployment rising slightly to 9.1pc after a slow but steady decline and house prices still falling, having wiped out the gains of the last decade.

The economy poses a huge challenge for the president, whose re-election next year may depend on him convincing voters his policies have at least pointed the country in the right direction.

No president has been re-elected with unemployment over 7.4pc since Franklin Delano Roosevelt was steering the US through the Great Depression.

Supporters of the president described the figures as a "bump in the road" but public sentiment is gloomy, with 89pc of Americans saying the economy is in bad shape and 66pc saying the US is on the wrong track.

The poll contained further bad news for Mr Obama, as he was shown to be in a dead heat with Mitt Romney, the early front-runner in the Republican nomination race.

Among all Americans, the pair were tied at 47pc, while among registered voters, Mr Romney was ahead by 49pc to 46pc.

Launching his campaign last week, the former Massachusetts governor made the economy his first line of attack, claiming the president had "failed America".

Setback

Mr Obama suffered a further setback when it was announced that Austan Goolsbee, his top economic adviser, was stepping down to return to teaching at the University of Chicago. He has been regarded as one of the administration's strongest spokesmen.

Mr Obama said: "I am concerned that the recovery that we're now in is not producing jobs as quickly as I'd want it."

He said high petrol prices and turbulence in Europe had affected confidence and added: "We're on the path of a recovery, but it's got to accelerate."

Last night Mr Obama dismissed the risk of the US slipping back into recession as poor jobs data raised fresh doubts among Americans over his handling of the economy.

"I'm not concerned about a double-dip recession. I am concerned about the fact that the recovery that we're on is not producing jobs as quickly as I want it to happen," Mr Obama told a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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