Poll: Obama approval up four points, but underwater on key policy questions

ADVERTISEMENT
Only 45 percent say they approve of the way the president is handing gun policy, with 52 percent saying they disapprove. That's down a point from January, and a troubling sign for the White House, which has frequently cited favorable poll numbers when pushing congressional Republicans to support the Senate gun control bill.

Monday evening, President Obama will travel to Connecticut for an address just an hour away from the December shooting at a Newtown elementary school that left 20 schoolchildren and six educators dead. On Tuesday, Vice President Biden and Attorney General Holder — two key players behind the president's legislative push — will speak at the White House in support of the legislation. Later in the week, first lady Michelle Obama will advocate a gun control package at a speech in Chicago.

The president's numbers are even lower on immigration reform, with just 44 percent of voters saying they approve of the president's handling of the issue. Some 50 percent say they disapprove, despite other surveys showing most Americans agree with the president's plan, which would include a pathway to citizenship for the nation's 11 million illegal immigrants.

That frustration could be rooted in Senate negotiations on an immigration deal. The so-called "Gang of Eight" has said a bill was likely in the next few weeks, but has yet to introduce a compromise deal.

On Monday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said the administration expected a deal "soon."

"I would simply say that we are encouraged by the progress we’ve seen," Carney said. "The President made clear at the beginning of this process that he thought the best way to create success was for the Senate to take the lead through the Gang of Eight. And there has been significant progress, and I don’t think anybody can contest that."

The president also receives low marks for his handling of the budget, with only 38 percent of Americans saying they approve of how the president has handled the federal deficit. The White House revealed last week that their budget — which will be unveiled Wednesday — will include cuts to entitlement benefits and government programs, as well as new tax revenues. The plan has drawn heavy criticism from lawmakers on both the far left and right, although the White House has characterized the plan as a compromise proposal.

"Throughout his first term, President Obama's ratings were typically boosted by positive views of him as a person rather than his policies, and that dynamic seems to be still in force in his second term," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland in a statement. "The change in Obama's approval rating comes among two key elements of his winning electorate coalition - women and younger Americans - suggesting that those old patterns are still in place."