Poll: Obama approval rating at 3-year high

President Obama’s approval rating is at a three-year high, according to a new poll released late Wednesday, bolstering the president amid contentious fights over the budget and immigration reform.

Fifty-five percent of Americans approve of Obama’s job performance in the latest Bloomberg National Poll, his highest level of support since their September 2009 survey. In contrast, only 35 percent approve of GOP lawmakers’ performance, their lowest showing since September 2009.

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On a number of issues, voters prefer Obama’s approach to that of Republicans.

Forty-nine percent to 44 percent believe that Obama’s calls for more spending on infrastructure, education and proposals to back alternative energy are more likely to help create jobs than the GOP’s push for further spending cuts and lower taxes.

The poll’s findings are likely to boost Obama as lawmakers and the White House wrangle over a deal to halt $85 billion in sequester cuts.


Obama is calling for a replacement plan that includes spending cuts as well as new tax revenues to offset the across-the-board cuts slated to take effect on March 1. But Republicans, who accepted higher taxes in January’s “fiscal cliff” deal, say they will only accept a deal focused on targeted cuts, with no new revenues.

Both sides have launched an aggressive pitch to blame the other side if sequester takes effect. Obama has warned that it could harm the economy’s recovery and result in fewer teachers and emergency workers, and cutbacks to health and education programs.

Overall the poll finds 56 percent of Americans with a favorable view of the president, and 40 percent holding a negative one.

Respondents also blame Republicans over Obama and Democrats for “what’s gone wrong” in Washington by 43 to 34 percent. Twenty-three percent say they are unsure which side is more to blame.

Obama also sees support on immigration reform, with 47 percent supporting his handling of the issue to 38 percent who disapprove.

A plurality say they back measures to give illegal immigrants a pathway to legal status, a move Obama says should be a centerpiece of any immigration reform plan.

Thirty-five percent back a path to citizenship now for any illegal immigrants without a criminal record, while 18 percent would give them legal status after tightening border security.

A White House immigration proposal leaked last week included provisions to grant illegal immigrants permanent residency status and an eight-year wait to citizenship.

While a bipartisan Senate framework unveiled last month would also provide a path to citizenship linked to border security measures, such proposals are likely to face scrutiny from House GOP lawmakers.

The poll also highlights some trouble spots for the administration, with a majority, 54 percent, saying the country is on the wrong track. But the survey notes that figure is the lowest since the late 2009 poll.

Obama is also underwater on the economy, with 49 percent disapproving of his performance and 47 percent approving. Americans also disapprove of his handling of negotiations with congressional Republicans by a 44 to 42 percent split.

Respondents also disagree with Obama’s handling of the federal budget by 55 percent to 35 percent.

The poll has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.