As President Obama prepares to deliver the first State of the Union Address of his second term, his job approval ratings appear to be reverting to their medicore norm. Both CNN's "poll of polls" and an early February survey from Quinippiac show Obama dipping back into the 40s, suggesting that his brief inaugural afterglow is fading:
Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president?
Overall Approve: 46 percent
Overall Disapprove: 45 percent
Independents: 40/47 (approve/disapprove)
Obama fares poorly among whites (38/53); his topline numbers are salvaged by high marks from blacks (87/3) and Hispanics (64/28). The president is only slightly above water among Milennials (43/39), and is slightly underwater among voters aged 30-44 (46/48). Republicans in Congress score dreadfully low approval numbers (19/72), driven by majority disapproval from self-identified Republicans (41/51). Congressional Democrats are also quite unpopular (33/59), even as their stats are buttressed by overwhelmingly strong reviews from the polling sample's Democrats (76/25). A supermajority of Americans continue to say the country is on the wrong track, with 68 percent saying they're dissatisfied with the current state of the nation. The president has claimed a sweeping mandate -- particularly on taxes -- following his November victory, but this data indicates that the electorate remains deeply polarized and disaffected. Obama's relatively safe re-election was an impressive feat for a chief executive with middling approval ratings presiding over a poor economy -- the president overcame a number of historical indicators to secure a second term. But his ability to inspire and dominate the spotlight has suffered repeated blows, perhaps evidenced by a dramatically lower inaugural viewing audience compared to 2009.
UPDATE - Gallup's latest survey shows Obama underwater on almost every issue subset:
The president is in decent shape on national defense, treading water on immigration, foreign affairs and energy, and upside down on everything else. Given all the attention gun issues have gotten recently, it's striking that Obama faces a 12-point hole on that front -- and even though some polls have shown that the public generally agrees with his recent tax hikes on "the rich," he faces a 16-point approval deficit on the broader subject. Speaking of deficits, Obama fares worst on that issue at 31 percent approve, 65 percent disapprove, and he's not much better on the economy (39/60).
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