Pew poll: Obama's public support is eroding

McClatchy NewspapersMarch 16, 2009 

WASHINGTON — A new poll by the independent Pew Research Center for the People & the Press has found that President Barack Obama's popular support is eroding, with his approval rating dropping below 60 percent.

"President Barack Obama's approval rating has slipped, as a growing number of Americans see him listening more to his party's liberals than to its moderates, and many voice opposition to some of his key economic proposals," the Pew Center concluded.

Its new survey finds Obama's approval rating falling to 59 percent from 64 percent in February. It also finds the ranks of Americans who disapprove of the president's job performance rising, to 26 percent from 17 percent.

Among those who registered a jump in disapproval were Republicans, up 15 percentage points, and independents, up 13 points, Pew found.

The survey was taken among 1,308 adults last Monday through Thursday and has an error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

One reason for the erosion of support could be that a plurality sees Obama aligned more with the liberal wing of his party as he pushes an agenda that calls for broad increases in government spending and taxes.

Pew found that Americans think by 44 percent to 30 percent that the president listens more to liberals than to moderates in his party. The sentiment was a mirror image of what it was in January, when 44 percent thought he listened more to moderates and 34 percent thought he listened more to liberals.

Since then, Obama has signed a $787 billion economic stimulus package and proposed a $600 billion-plus down payment for a health-care overhaul and raising taxes on wealthier Americans to pay for it. He also proposed a $3.55 trillion fiscal 2010 budget and projected that the federal budget deficit for the current fiscal year would hit a record $1.75 trillion, or 12.3 percent of the gross domestic product.

The Pew poll is the latest finding that the president has lost some support as he's started to flesh out his governing agenda.

A McClatchy-Ipsos poll last week found his approval rating dropping from 69 percent to 65 percent. An average of six public polls in the last few weeks — Pew, Gallup, Rasmussen, McClatchy-Ipsos, Newsweek and Fox — put Obama's approval rating at 60.3 percent.

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The Pew poll

The McClatchy-Ipsos poll

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