Poll: Obama gets (very) high marks on the economy

President Obama is not to blame for the current recession and voters both approve of how he is handling the economy and trust Obama to handle the economy more than Republicans by a significant margin, according to a poll released Tuesday.

The New York Times/CBS News poll found that a majority of respondents approve of Obama's handling of the challenges facing the nation and believe the country is heading in a better direction. More than six in 10 approve of Obama's job performance and thirty-nine percent think the country is heading in the right direction, a 15-point jump from mid-January. Still, more than half - 53 percent - believe the country is heading in the wrong direction, a number that has dropped from 79 percent in January.

More than half of respondents said the economy is in "very bad" condition and a third said it is getting worse. Seven in 10 said they are "very" or "somewhat" worried that they or someone in their family will be out of work in the next year.

But the number of people who said the economy is getting worse is down from 54 percent before Obama took office, a possible indication that respondents believe Obama is taking the right steps. And a majority, 56 percent, said they approve of how Obama is handling the economy.
A third of respondents blame former President George W. Bush for the recession while two in 10 blame financial institutions. Just more than 10 percent blame Congress and only 2 percent blame Obama. And respondents trust Obama to make the right decisions on the economy over Republicans by a striking margin - 63 percent to 20 percent. Nearly a quarter of Republicans said they trust Obama over the congressional GOP.

Still, not all of Obama's economic policies were well-liked. Nearly six in 10 disapprove of his decision to provide financial assitance to the banking industry.

While Obama gets high marks, Congress continues to struggle. Only 26 percent approve of Congress's job performance, while 64 percent disapprove.

But the Democratic Party appears to be riding Obama's coattails. Fifty-six percent have a favorable view of Democrats while 31 percent have a favorable view of the Republican party, the lowest mark the GOP has registered in the poll in 25 years. More, when asked which party is more concerned with issues they face, 57 percent of respondents said Democrats while 22 percent said Republicans.

The poll was conducted last Wednesday through last Sunday. There was a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.

jeremy.jacobs@thehill.com

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