By Justin Sink
Less than three weeks before the midterm elections, President Obama’s approval rating is at an all-time low, according to a new survey released Wednesday by ABC News and The Washington Post.
Four in 10 Americans say they approve of the way the president is handling his job, while a majority, 51 percent, disapproves. And just 39 percent of voters see the Democrats favorably — the worst showing for Obama’s party since 1984.
Half of the respondents say they expect to vote for a Republican candidate in the midterm elections, versus 43 percent who plan to back Democrats. And the public is widely skeptical of the president’s approach on hot-button issues from the economy to terrorism to Ebola.
More than three-quarters, 77 percent, say they are worried about the direction of the economy, while a nearly identical number say their finances have stayed the same or gotten worse during the Obama presidency.
Voters are more likely to back the GOP approach on immigration by a 4-percentage-point margin, while Republicans hold an 8-percentage-point advantage on the economy and a 19-percentage-point advantage on the conflict with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Two-thirds of voters say they’re worried about an Ebola outbreak.
There are a few encouraging signs for Democrats. Republicans remain more unpopular overall, with only a third of Americans viewing them favorably. And Democrats are viewed as the better stewards of healthcare, helping the middle class and women’s issues — all major themes the party has been pushing ahead of the midterm elections.
But Gary Langer, who conducted the poll for ABC News, said the White House should find little of comfort in the numbers.
“Obama’s approval rating matches George W. Bush’s heading into the 2006 midterms, when the Republicans lost 30 seats,” Langer said. “The only postwar president numerically lower heading into a second midterm was Harry Truman, at 39 percent approval, in 1950; his Democrats lost 28 seats.”