By Justin Sink
While Democrats hope that President Obama’s decision to move unilaterally on immigration reform will buoy their electoral chances in the fall, a new poll shows that approval of the president’s handling of the issue has fallen to a record low.
Just 31 percent of Americans say they approve of how the president has handled immigration reform, according to a poll from CBS News.
That’s an encouraging sign for Republicans after the House declined to move on a bipartisan comprehensive immigration bill that emerged from the Senate last year.
And there’s plenty more bad news for the president, whose overall approval rating is a mere 41 percent.
A majority of respondents, 54 percent, disapprove of how the president is handling the economy, while just 40 percent approve, despite significant gains in the stock market and steady hiring. Meanwhile, only 36 percent approve of the president’s handling of foreign policy amid swirling crises in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
While 52 percent say they have at least some confidence in the president’s ability to handle a foreign policy crisis, the number who say they have a “lot of confidence” is down 14 points from September.
Just 38 percent of respondents say the president shares their priorities, while a significant majority, 56 percent, says he does not. Only 25 percent say the country is headed in the right direction, down 5 points from May and 8 points from the beginning go the year. Of those surveyed, 58 percent say the economy is bad, while 4 in 10 rate it as good. Some 78 percent say the economy is getting worse or staying the same.
While 50 percent of all respondents say they still think the president has strong qualities of leadership, that’s down 3 points from March and 8 points from last year.
But despite trouble on nearly every front for the president, there was also bad news for congressional Republicans in the survey.
A majority of Americans, 54 percent, disapprove of Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) plan to sue the president over his delayed implementation of ObamaCare’s employer mandate, while just 37 percent approve.
And the Republican brand remains damaged in the eyes of voters. While just 41 percent of voters view Democrats favorably, only 29 percent see Republicans in a positive light. That’s down 4 points from May.
And despite the president’s struggles, voters are more likely to see Democrats as the party that shares Americans’ values or is better equipped to handle immigration. Republicans do hold an advantage on national security.
They also seem primed to succeed in November’s midterm elections. While Democrats hold a slight generic ballot edge (41 percent-37 percent), the GOP holds a more substantial (47 percent-40 percent) lead among those more enthusiastic than usual about voting. With just a quarter of voters saying they are paying attention to the midterm elections, highly motivated voters will likely play a crucial role.