Politics

Obama's Approval Rating Lowest Yet, Congress' Declines

by Jeffrey M. Jones

Slightly more disapprove than approve of Obama

PRINCETON, NJ -- President Barack Obama's job approval is the worst of his presidency to date, with 46% of Americans approving and 48% disapproving of the job he is doing as president in the latest Gallup Daily three-day average.

Do You Approve or Disapprove of the Way Barack Obama Is Handling His Job as President?

"Americans hold Congress in far less esteem than they do the president -- 16% approve and 80% disapprove of the job Congress is doing."

Obama's approval rating has hovered around 50% since November, but in the last two days has declined to the point that slightly more Americans now disapprove than approve of his performance in office.

The new low ratings come during a week in which the White House and Democratic congressional leaders are working to convince wavering House Democrats to support healthcare reform, which they hope to pass using a series of parliamentary maneuvers in the House of Representatives and Senate.

Americans hold Congress in far less esteem than they do the president -- 16% approve and 80% disapprove of the job Congress is doing, according to the latest update from a March 4-7 Gallup poll. That is just two points off the record-low 14% Gallup measured in July 2008. Gallup has been measuring congressional approval since 1974.

Do You Approve or Disapprove of the Way Congress Is Handling Its Job?

Congress' image improved during the early part of the Obama administration, peaking at 39% in March 2009. But by last month its ratings were back to where they were before Obama took office, mainly due to a loss in support from Democratic identifiers.

Bottom Line

Public support for President Obama and Congress -- both of which were running near their low points prior to the beginning of this month -- continues to slip. That is an ominous sign heading into this year's midterm elections. As of now, Gallup's tracking of congressional election preferences suggests a close House race, and a much worse performance for Democrats than in the 2006 election that restored the party to majority status in Congress.

Survey Methods

Results for Obama job approval are based on telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,478 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted March 15-17, 2010, as part of Gallup Daily tracking. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.

Results for congressional job approval are based on telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,014 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted March 4-7, 2010. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones and cellular phones.

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.

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