A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that 62 percent of Americans disapprove of President Obama's handling of the economy, the first time the score has reached that high while Obama has been in office. Approval of Republicans in Congress also dropped to a new low. The news comes the same week that Obama is scheduled to give a major speech before a joint session of Congress on jobs and the economy.
Obama's overall job approval, when respondents were asked, “Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president,” remained steady at 44 percent. The overall job disapproval rate, however, climbed from 46 percent last month to 56 percent this month.
Americans’ disapproval of Obama's handling of the economy is part of an overall trend. It has steadily climbed from 51 percent in January to 62 percent this month. Obama's record on job creation also reached a new high for disapproval at 62 percent.
Disapproval of congressional Republicans is also at record highs. Only 28 percent of Americans approve of how Republicans in Congress are doing their jobs while 68 percent disapprove. The last time congressional Republicans had such low marks was September 2007.
Respondents were about evenly split when asked if Obama or Republicans in Congress are doing a better job at handling the economy (Obama, 42 percent; GOP, 39 percent); creating jobs (Obama, 40 percent; GOP, 40 percent); or handling the federal budget deficit (Obama, 39 percent; GOP, 42 percent).
When asked if the country is on the right track or wrong track, 77 percent of respondents answered “wrong track.” The last time this measure was that high was January 2009, the month that Obama took office.
The poll also shows that 35 percent of Americans say they are not as well off financially since Obama became president. The last time a poll showed numbers this high for a similar question was 1992, the year that President George H. W. Bush lost his re-election bid.
The poll numbers come at a bad time for Obama. He will lay out a plan before Congress and the American public Thursday night to create jobs and help the economy. Then, he will embark on a tour to sell the plan to the public, beginning in Virginia on Friday.
Obama has said that he will propose an agenda that can garner bipartisan support. Some liberals, however, would like to see Obama be bolder and more effective in calling for another spending bill.
The poll also shows that 56 percent of Americans would prefer a smaller government with fewer services while 38 percent would prefer a larger government with more services. Also, 70 percent said they believe Obama would prefer a larger government with more services.
The poll was conducted by telephone from Aug. 29 to Sept. 1, 2011, with randomly sampled 1,001 American adults. The margin of error is +/- 3.5 percent.