Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Obama's ratings at new low

WASHINGTON - PRESIDENT Barack Obama earned his lowest marks ever on his handling of the economy in a new Associated Press-GfK poll, which also found that an overwhelming majority of Americans now describe America's financial outlook as poor.

A frustrated electorate could take it out on the party in power - Mr Obama's Democrats - in the November congressional elections. Eleven weeks before the Nov 2 balloting, just 41 per cent of those surveyed approve of the president's performance on the economy, down from 44 per cent in April, while 56 per cent disapprove. And 61 per cent say the economy has gotten worse or stayed the same on Mr Obama's watch.

Still, three-quarters also say it's unrealistic to expect noticeable economic improvements in the first 18 months of the president's term. And Mr Obama's overall approval rating was unaffected; it remained at 49 per cent, in part because most Americans still like him personally.

Americans' dim view of the economy grew even more pessimistic this summer as the nation's unemployment rate stubbornly hovered near 10 per cent. That's been a drag on both Mr Obama and Democrats, who control Congress.

Viewpoints like those have Democrats on edge as they try to hang onto comfortable majorities in the House of Representatives and Senate in a political environment made ever more challenging by economic woes. Republicans are trying to convince Americans that the Republicans can create the jobs that Mr Obama hasn't delivered. Mr Obama and his Democrats are pleading for the frustrated public to give them more time to prove that their economic fixes will work.

'The truth is, it's going to take a few years to fully dig ourselves out of this recession. It's going to take time to bring back 8 million jobs,' the president said on Tuesday while campaigning for Democratic candidates in Seattle. 'Anybody who tells you otherwise is just looking for your vote.' Democrats are keenly aware that they face strong headwinds; 60 per cent of people say the country's headed in the wrong direction. -- AP

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