independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Obama's poll ratings hit a new low over recent crises

U.S. President Barack Obama

Barack Obama's approval ratings have slumped to a historic low, according to a new poll, as the president's second term is rocked by ongoing crises at home and abroad

An NBC/Wall Street Journal survey found that the stop-start approach to Syria, the scandal over US mass surveillance and the botched launch of Obamacare had shaken Americans' faith in their president.

While the poll also found record hostility towards the Republican Party, the White House will be concerned that both the job approval of Mr Obama (pictured below) and Americans' view of him are falling.

Around 51pc disapproved of the job he was doing in the Oval Office compared to 42pc who approved.

His ratings were also hit by the rollout of his signature healthcare law, which his own health secretary admitted had been a "debacle".

The poll found 47pc thought the reforms were a bad idea, compared to 37pc who supported it.

Mr Obama's numbers are at their worst since September 2011, when he clocked a seven-point negative spread amid a stuttering economic recovery and the outbreak of Libya's civil war.

While Mr Obama will never again face re-election, the sagging numbers threaten his hopes for a productive second term and especially plans to reform America's broken immigration system.

"This was the period where the president hoped to get traction," said Peter Hart, a Democratic pollster who conducted the poll. He blamed a confluence different events of these different events have come together to create a certain doubt and uncertainty about his leadership."

Although Mr Obama's job approval rating has fallen into negative territory before, his personal approval ratings have always held firm, buoyed by Americans' fondness for Michelle, his two young daughters and dog Bo.

NEGATIVE

Now, around 45pc of Americans view him negatively, compared to 41pc who see him positively, the first time the NBC/WSJ poll has recorded an overall negative figure.

Mr Obama had appeared as a cultural celebrity – comfortable singing onstage and playing basketball – and also as a family man.

But Mr Hart said: "The Obama magic has fallen. In place of it you see a worried, an angry and an uncertain portrait of the president in action."

Mr Hart added that the president could rebound if he gets past the current string of crises.

Three quarters of respondents also said they believed Congress was making the country's problems rather than solving them.

Raf Sanchez

(©Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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