President Barack Obama’s approval rating has fallen to 41 percent among registered voters, threatening his second-term priorities and the Democratic majority in the Senate.
The Washington Post and ABC poll result was a record low for Obama, and it even showed his overall approval below the anemic 42 percent rating he gets for his handling of the economy.
His ratings are being dragged down by his handling of health care and foreign policy, which fell to 37 percent and 34 percent approval, respectively.
Only 30 percent of registered voters, 22 percent of independents, and 56 percent of Democrats, said the country is on the right track, while 66 percent say it is on the wrong track.
The poll also showed much more intense opposition to Obama and his policies than it showed support. On health care and the economy, almost twice as many people strongly opposed Obama’s policies than strongly support those policies.
That’s important because unmotivated voters are less likely to vote in the November election. In past elections, the president’s party gets hammered in mid-term elections when his support falls below 45 percent.
To boost turnout among Democratic-leaning groups, Obama is expected to amp up his divisive rhetoric, and to use the media to highlight intemperate responses by Republican leaders and supporters.
The poll showed the GOP’s polling advantage is delicate, because a large slice of its supporters don’t trust its leadership, which is tightly affiliated with business interests and major donors.
For example, only 37 percent of registered voters said they “trust [the GOP] to do a better job in coping with the main problems the nation faces over the next few years.” Seventeen percent of voters say they trust neither party, and 39 percent trust the Democrats more.
That weakness was highlighted by the poll’s question on immigration, which showed that both parties had the trust of less than 40 percent of registered voters, while 14 percent of respondents distrusted both parties.
Similarly, the respondents showed that far more respondents trust the Democrats to aid the middle-class. Fifty-two percent of respondents trusted the Democrats, while only 33 percent trusted the GOP.
Democrats also led the GOP, by 55 percent to 25 percent, when asked who do “you trust to do a better job handling Issues that are especially important to women?” In most elections, the GOP wins a majority of voters from married women, while Democrats win a lopsided majority of unmarried women.
That’s a Democratic advantage, because more women than men turn out to vote, and because the percentage of women who are married is dropping as the government provides more financial aid to young people.
The poll also showed the Democrats ahead on other issues, including the minimum wage, climate control, abortion and same-sex marriage.
But the poll shows that 59 percent of independents want a Republican-led Congress to curb Obama’s policies. On the economy, only 20 percent strongly support Obama’s policies, while 41 percent strongly disapprove. On health care, only 24 percent strongly approved, while 45 percent strongly disapproved.