Americans continue to give President Barack Obama low marks on the economy and immigration, results of a new Gallup poll released Thursday show, although his numbers on foreign affairs and education remain high.
"Nearly six in 10 Americans approve of Obama's handling of terrorism; however, that is where majority approval of the president ends in the current poll," Gallup Senior Editor Lydia Saad wrote.
She added, "He earns his lowest issue ratings on the economic issue areas, with approval on the federal budget deficit the lowest."
Only 30 percent of Americans polled between August 9th and 12th said they approve of the president's handling of the federal budget deficit.
Not many more - just 36 percent - approve of his handling of the economy, positioning his ratings significantly worse than all three prior successful presidential incumbents at this same point in their first term.
Obama also continues to garner little praise for his immigration policies. Only 38 percent approve of the president's job performance on the issue, even though he has spent a significant amount of time and political capital enacting a policy allowing some young illegal immigrants to temporarily defer deportation.
But more worrying than his low grades on economic policies are that numbers across all issue areas remain stagnant, the polling data shows.
"While Obama's issue ratings are largely unchanged from where they have been over the past year, that stability may be a problem given his overall job approval rating is 45 percent," Saad said.
"Historically, presidents who won a second term had near-50 percent job approval ratings or better prior to the election," she added, highlighting the historical trend that approval ratings on economic policies most closely corresponded to overall approval ratings.
"To move closer to [the near-50 percent] range, Obama may want to focus singularly on raising his approval rating on the economy, as with previous presidents it seems to have been the issue approval most closely linked to overall job approval," Saad concluded.
However, Obama's highest grades were for his job performance overseas - for foreign policy (48 percent approval) and terrorism (58 percent). On only one domestic issue - education - did Obama poll above 40 percent, getting 49 percent approval.
The Gallup survey of 1,012 adults was conducted August 9th through 12th and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
The economy has consistently polled as the number one issue for this November's presidential elections. A July ABC-Washington Post poll showed the issue to be #1 for 90 percent of Americans.
Capitalizing on this sentiment, Republican candidate Mitt Romney has made the economy the largest issue in his entire campaign, while some pundits believe the Obama campaign has been trying to focus on too many disparate messages from gay rights to women's issues to immigration.
But, in recent days, the Obama campaign has begun to finalize their "final days" message around strengthening the economy of the middle class. If this strategy bumps up the president's economic approval ratings, Obama would likely have a stronger chance of winning re-election in November.
by RTT Staff Writer
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