SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Concern about the economy has pushed President Barack Obama's approval rating below 50 percent in California, a state assumed to be an easy win for him in next year's presidential election.
Obama carried California in the 2008 election but Field Poll findings released on Wednesday show he is having trouble in the most populous U.S. state, where most disapprove of his handling of the economy and just 46 percent of registered voters now support his performance as president.
It is the first time since Obama took office that his approval rating has slipped below 50 percent in the poll, which
showed an 8 percentage point decline since June.
The percentage of California voters disinclined to re-elect Obama was 44 percent -- compared with 40 percent in June and March -- while 49 percent are inclined to vote for him next year, unchanged from June and March.
"Most would consider this a reliably blue (Democratic) state and if he's having problems here it's fairly ominous for his standing in the rest of the nation," said Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll.
The poll showed 54 percent of California voters disapprove of how Obama is handling the economy, compared with 40 percent who approve and 6 percent with no opinion.
The findings are based on a telephone survey conducted from September 1 to 12 of 1,001 registered voters. The estimated maximum sampling error for the survey's results is plus or minus 3.2 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.