Approval among seniors, upper-income Americans has fallen below 50%
PRINCETON, NJ -- President Barack Obama's most recent weekly job approval rating is 52% for the seven-day period ending on Sunday, similar to the 54% reading from the previous week but down significantly from 59% a month ago. His average disapproval rating during the past week is 41%.
In June, Obama maintained approval ratings in the 60% range, roughly twice his disapproval rating. Obama still enjoys a double-digit gap between his average approval and average disapproval scores -- 11 percentage points for the week of Aug. 17-23. However, that buffer has shrunk considerably since mid-July, due to diminished support across the board.
Among partisan groups over the past week, approval of Obama has declined only among Republicans, from 20% to 16%. However compared to mid-July, Obama's support from Democrats and independents is also down.
While Obama has taken some flak from the left wing of his party over his apparent willingness to take the idea of a "public option" for healthcare reform off the table, Gallup finds little slippage in liberal Democrats' support for the president. In fact, among his Democratic base, Obama's approval rating has dropped more among moderates than among liberals. Among Republicans, the erosion is primarily seen among liberals and moderates, while his already-scant support from conservative Republicans has hardly changed.
Approval of Obama is down among all major age groups over the past month, but the drop has been particularly steep -- 11 points -- among adults aged 18 to 29 (though young Americans continue to give Obama the strongest support). It has dropped by four to seven points during that time among the three older age categories of Americans. However, over the past week, the sharpest drop -- from 48% to 43% -- has been among seniors.
Seniors remain the only age group whose average approval rating of Obama is below 50%, a pattern seen since mid-July. But last week, for the first time, finds more seniors disapproving than approving of Obama (48% disapprove vs. 43% who approve).
Support for Obama has also dropped below 50% for the first time among upper-income Americans (those making $90,000 or more per year) and registers below that threshold for only the second time among upper-middle-income earners (those earning from $60,000 to $89,999).
Women continue to have a better opinion of the president than do men; however, support from both genders has been on a downward path over the past month. Half of men now approve of the job Obama is doing, while nearly as many (44%) disapprove.
Gallup's weekly average approval ratings for President Obama, each based on more than 3,500 interviews with U.S. national adults, document a clear decline in Americans' support for his job performance over the past month. This is a broad-based decline, not focused among specific demographic or political groups. However, as Obama's average approval figure descends closer to 50%, his rating from more groups is falling below that symbolic threshold. Early in his administration, only Republicans and conservatives registered less than 50% approval for the job he was doing. Since July, the category also includes non-Hispanic whites, seniors, upper- and upper-middle-income Americans, political independents, married adults, weekly churchgoers, and those living in the South. The groups doing the most to keep Obama's job rating above 50% -- with 60% or higher approval levels -- include 18- to 29-year-olds, blacks, Hispanics, postgraduates, adults earning less than $12,000 per year, Democrats, liberals, moderates, infrequent and non-churchgoers, and adults who are not married.
The latest weekly average results are based on telephone interviews with 3,628 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Aug. 17-23, 2009. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones (for respondents with a land-line telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell-phone only).
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.