Poll: Obama's approval rating at 40 percent

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President Obama’s approval rating has largely flattened out in a new Quinnipiac poll after falling to the lowest level of his presidency last year. 

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In the poll released Wednesday, Obama’s approval rating stood at 40 percent, while 54 percent of people disapproved of him. That is largely unchanged from a similar poll earlier this month, which showed his approval rating at 41 percent. 

A week ahead of Obama’s State of the Union address, 67 percent of voters said they expect to watch.

Democrats, by far, are the most likely to watch. Eighty-two percent of Democrats and 69 percent of independents say they expect to watch the speech. Another 53 percent of Republicans say they are likely to tune in. 

The speech comes as Obama’s approval rating has leveled out since plunging to 38 percent amid the rocky rollout of his healthcare law last December. His approval rating still has not completely recovered since last year, when it stood at 45 percent in October. 

Obama’s approval rating remains low on issues important to voters. Only 39 percent approve of his job handling the economy, while 36 percent approve of his handling of healthcare.

In an open-ended question, 18 percent of voters say healthcare remains their top priority. Another 16 percent rank jobs as their biggest concern, while 15 percent cite the economy in general. 

According to the poll, 53 percent of people say the Obama administration is not competent running the government, while 47 percent believe the president is not paying attention to what his administration is doing. 

A majority — 51 percent — said he cares about voters needs, and 49 percent said he is a strong leader. Another 48 percent say he is not a strong leader. Wednesday’s poll is the first time more people than not have defined him as strong since last October. 

However, only 46 percent say he is honest and trustworthy, while 49 percent say he is not. 

The poll surveyed 1,933 registered voters and has a 2.2 percentage point margin of error.