Ratings on economy, foreign affairs, deficit generally stable this year
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- President Obama's approval rating for handling healthcare policy, now at 42%, has recovered from a downtick measured in January and February of this year -- before the healthcare bill became law.
Obama's approval ratings on healthcare policy were in the 40% to 44% range in surveys conducted in the second half of 2009 but fell to the upper 30% range earlier this year as the debate on healthcare reform intensified. The current uptick suggests that the president regained some positioning on the issue as a result of the healthcare bill's passage.
Obama's approval on handling healthcare policy has consistently been lower than his contemporaneous overall job ratings. His 42% rating on healthcare in the March 26-28 USA Today/Gallup poll is slightly below the 47% overall job approval rating he received in the same poll, and below his average in Gallup Daily tracking for the same period of time.
Obama's current approval ratings on other dimensions range from a high of 48% for his handling of foreign affairs to a low of 31% for his handling of the federal budget deficit and the situation between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Obama's ratings on handling foreign affairs, the economy, and the federal deficit are roughly in line with readings earlier this year, albeit down significantly from several points in 2009. For example, as recently as November of last year, Obama's approval on handling the economy was at 44%; today it is 37%. Obama began his administration back in February 2009 with a 59% approval rating on the economy.
As noted, the trend on Obama's handling of healthcare reflects a slightly different pattern. Although his January and February ratings on healthcare showed a modest decline from what was measured last summer and fall, his rating has rebounded to 42%, not significantly different from those readings. (Full trends on these approval measures are presented on page 2 of this report.)
Results are based on telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,033 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted March 26-28, 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 (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.