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Pollsters Agree: Obama’s in Bad Shape

Three new polls are out today, but for President Obama they all say pretty much the same thing: he’s hit a low in his presidency during the same week that he’s set to address the nation’s jobs problem in a speech to a joint session of Congress.

All three polls showed a sharp drop in his job approval ratings. Washington Post-ABC News has Obama at 43 percent, Politico at 45 percent and the Wall Street Journal-NBC at 44 percent.

Public pessimism abou the direction of the country and the economy is also at the highest yet, according to the Washington Post-ABC News study:

Public pessimism about the direction of the country has jumped to its highest level in nearly three years, erasing the sense of hope that followed President Obama’s inauguration and pushing his approval ratings to a record low, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

More than 60 percent of those surveyed say they disapprove of the way the president is handling the economy and, what has become issue No. 1, the stagnant jobs situation. Just 43 percent now approve of the job he is doing overall, a new career low; 53 percent disapprove, a new high.

Meanwhile, only 20 percent of voters believe the country is heading in the right direction, reports Politico:

Capturing a rapid erosion of confidence through the summer months, the poll found 72 percent of voters believe the country is either strongly or somewhat headed in the wrong direction, a jump of 12 percentage points since May. Only 20 percent of voters say the country is going in the right direction, a 12-point drop in the same period.

And the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found the majority of respondents believe the president is facing a long-term setback, which he’s not likely to bounce back from:

When Barack Obama unveils his jobs and economic plan to a joint session of Congress on Thursday, he’ll do so at the lowest point of his presidency, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. …

Perhaps most ominously for Obama, a majority of poll takers — 54 percent — think he’s facing a longer-term setback from which he’s unlikely to recover. Back in January, just 39 percent agreed with that assessment.

Indeed, that 54 percent is virtually identical to George W. Bush’s score on the same question in the Nov. 2005 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, which was released just months after Bush’s widely criticized handling of Hurricane Katrina.

It’s important to remember Obama’s personal popularity still remains high, and there’s certainly still time for his job approval ratings to recover. Both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton survived periods of low polling and went on to win second terms. But by mid-Fall before their reelection, their approval numbers had risen (and remained) above 50 percent. Whether Obama is able to rebound before that point will probably depend on how his upcoming jobs plan is received by the public.



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