Obama Job Approval at 41%, Tying His Low

by Jeffrey M. Jones

Independents' approval rating down to 35%

PRINCETON, NJ - The latest Gallup Daily tracking three-day average shows 41% of Americans approving of the job Barack Obama is doing as president. That ties his low as president, which he registered three times previously -- twice in August 2010 and once in October 2010.

July 2009-April 2011 Trend: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president? % Approve

The current 41% approval rating from April 12-14 polling includes interviews conducted before and after Obama announced his plan for deficit reduction on Wednesday. It also comes in the same week Congress is voting on the 2011 budget deal reached last Friday. The deal did not seem to have an immediate effect on the way Americans viewed Obama, given his 44% approval rating in the three days prior to the agreement and his 46% rating in the initial days after the agreement.

The economy is likely also a factor in Obama's declining ratings. Though unemployment is improving according to government estimates, the economic recovery remains slow and is being challenged by rising fuel prices. Presidents' approval ratings have historically suffered in times of high gas prices.

The current three-day average finds 50% of Americans disapproving of Obama, two percentage points below his high disapproval rating of 52% from Aug. 15-17 and Aug. 16-18, 2010, polling.

Obama's approval rating has averaged 48% thus far in 2011, including a slightly higher 50% average during the last two weeks in January.

Declining Approval Most Apparent Among Independents

Obama's approval rating in April 12-14 polling is down most among independents when compared with his 2011 average to date as well as his term average among this group. Currently, 35% of independents approve of the president, nine points off his average from independents this year. Democrats' current ratings are also below what he has averaged thus far in 2011 (down four points), while Republicans' are the same.

Obama Approval Rating, by Political Party, April 12-14, 2011, 2011 to Date, and 2009-2011 Average


President Obama is now as unpopular as he has been at any time since he became president. He faces difficult challenges ahead in trying to improve the economy and get the federal budget deficit under control, and must do so with Republicans in control of the House. His ability to navigate these challenges will help determine whether he will be elected to a second term as president. Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton all were similarly unpopular at this stage of their presidencies, but the last two were able to turn things around in time to win a second term in office.

Explore President Obama's approval ratings in depth and compare them with those of past presidents in the Gallup Presidential Job Approval Center.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted April 12-14, 2011, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 1,540 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample includes a minimum quota of 400 cell phone respondents and 600 landline respondents per 1,000 national adults, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents for gender within region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cell phones numbers are selected using random digit dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, and phone status (cell phone-only/landline only/both, cell phone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2010 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.

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.

For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.

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