Obama’s favorability hits new low on election eve

A new poll finds a record low number of voters like President Obama personally or feel he empathizes with their troubles on the eve of Tuesday’s midterm elections.

A new low — only 46 percent — of Americans say President Obama understands the problems of people like them, according to a new poll from The Washington Post and ABC News. More than half — 51 percent — say he does not. 


The president’s favorability is also at an all-time low, with just 44 percent saying they personally liked the president and 50 percent viewing him negatively. That's down from 49 percent favorability at the beginning of 2014, and 60 percent following his reelection in 2012.

Voters have given Obama high personal marks in the past even while disapproving of his job performance. But the new numbers suggest the affability that helped propel Obama twice to the White House has worn thin with voters. 

The president also lags on a number of additional leadership metrics. Only 45 percent of voters view the president as a good manager, and just 46 percent describe him as a strong leader. While a plurality say that Obama can be trusted in a crisis, a majority do not. 

The president's fading popularity has been largely driven by Hispanic voters, with Obama losing 19 percentage points in favorability since January.

That suggests his decision to delay immigration executive action until after the midterms could be hurting him with a key part of his base. On Sunday, Obama was repeatedly heckled over immigration during a campaign speech in Connecticut.

But the president has also seen an erosion among other core Democratic groups. Some 94 percent of black voters saw Obama favorably in January, but just 85 percent do today. Among self-described liberals, the president's favorability has dipped from 79 to 71 percent.

That said, Obama does continue to perform better with female voters, who rate him better on empathy, leadership and crisis management than do men. And Obama is viewed favorably on all those metrics by a majority of voters under 30, and voters making less than $50,000 per year.