Poll finds Obama approval at historic low

President Barack Obama's approval ratings have fallen to a new low, with only 36 percent of Americans saying that they approve of the way he is handling his job overall, according to a new poll from the Economist/YouGov. A majority of Americans - 56 percent - disapprove of the president's performance.

Even more concerning for the president may be the news that top Republican candidates have moved within striking distance in head-to-head matchups. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney trails Obama by just a 44 percent to 43 percent margin, while Texas Gov. Rick Perry trails 46 percent to 42 percent.

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As has been the case in previous polls showing the president's slipping approval, Americans seem frustrated primarily in a souring economy. Only 30 percent of Americans strongly or somewhat approve of the president's handling of the issue. Fifity percent of Americans believe that the policies of the Obama Administration have hurt the economy, and 53 percent say that they have hurt the middle class.

Nor are they particularly convinced by the president's jobs bill push. More Americans believe that the bill would not create a substantial number of new jobs, and 64 percent of those polled say the president should be doing more to help create new jobs.

The poll shows that while the country was evenly divided in January on whether they would describe the president as "effective," today only 15 percent of Americans believe so, versus 40 percent who do not. Forty-five percent have no opinion on the matter.

Nor is the president scoring points for ideological consistency: 57 percent of those polled believe that most of what the president says is what he wants people to hear, rather than what he really believes.

Still, there are glimmers of hope for Obama and the Democrats. 

As has been true in other polls, more trust Democrats than Republicans to handle the issue of job creation, and more believe that government spending is the way to create more jobs.

The Economist/YouGov poll surveyed 1000 respondents with a margin of error of 3.7 percent.


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