Obama’s approval rating falls sharply

President Obama’s approval rating has fallen sharply this week, hitting its worst margin since early January, according to Gallup’s three-day rolling average.

Only 43 percent of those surveyed said they approve of the job the president is doing, compared to 50 percent who disapprove.

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That’s a big one-day swing, indicating the latest numbers could be a quirk. On Monday, the president had nearly clawed his rating back to even, with 45 percent approving and 47 percent saying they disapprove.

Obama’s approval rating bottomed out last August when only 38 percent said they approved versus 55 percent who disapproved.

Those numbers followed the contentious debt-ceiling debate and the U.S. debt downgrade, but the president’s rating had been rising steadily since then, likely buoyed by the brightening economy.

The president’s approval rating went positive on Jan. 1, after Republicans badly botched the politics on an extension of the payroll tax break just before Christmas.

A few days later, Obama’s approval rating was again underwater by 8 points — a dramatic swing similar to Tuesday’s numbers — before stabilizing near the break-even mark.

Obama is averaging 45 percent approval and 47 percent disapproval for 2012.

Gallup's tracking poll has a 3-point margin of error.

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