Obama's approval rating underwater

President Obama's job approval rating stands at just 44 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday, with a plurality — 48 percent — saying they did not approve of the president's handling of his job.

The president's declining approval ratings appear driven, in part, by concern over the administration's handling of a barrage of foreign policy crises: the military overthrow of the civilian government in Egypt, the attempt to arm rebel forces in Syria and deteriorating peace talks in Afghanistan.

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Only four in 10 Americans approve of the way the president is handling foreign policy, with 52 percent disapproving — his worst score ever on the issue in the Quinnipiac poll. 

Some 61 percent of American voters say the United States should not be involved in the Syrian conflict, and 59 disagree with the White House's move to provide arms and military supplies to anti-government groups. Only one-third says they support the president's handling of the crisis there.

In Afghanistan, attitudes are more split, with voters approving 46-45 percent in favor of the president's approach. Some 63 percent reject negotiations with the Taliban, despite the administration's arguments that they are likely the best path to peace in Afghanistan.

The president is also struggling on domestic issues, with just 41 percent approving of his work on immigration and an identical number seeing his work on the economy favorably.

"His negative ratings come at the same time that voters are becoming more optimistic about the economy, saying 35-22 percent that it's improving, with 43 percent saying it's unchanged. Voter optimism about the economy usually helps presidential approval numbers," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. 

"Generally, voters don't seem happy with some of the president's policies, but they still give him majority support on his personal characteristics such as honesty and leadership. They also trust Obama more than Republicans 44-38 percent, to fix the economy. This compares to a 43-43 percent split on this measure May 30."