Obama's Ratings Remain High Despite Some Policy Concerns

Jun 18, 2009

A solid majority of Americans (61%) continue to approve of Barack Obama’s job performance, although they express mixed views of several of his policies, according to the latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. An important positive sign for Obama is the public’s continued optimism that his policies will improve the economy – fully 65% express this view. A smaller majority (55%) is optimistic Obama will reduce the budget deficit over the long-term. Nonetheless, Obama’s job approval on the economy has declined from 60% in April to 52% currently.

The slippage in the president’s economic ratings appears unrelated to the public’s assessments of his administration’s impact on current economic conditions – most (53%) say his policies have “not had an effect so far” or that it is too early to tell. Instead, it may have more to do with his relatively poor ratings for handling the problems of troubled automakers General Motors and Chrysler.

Nearly as many disapprove (44%) as approve (47%) of Obama’s performance in handling the automakers’ problems. There is even less support for government efforts to keep G.M. and Chrysler in business: 58% disapprove of the government spending billions to keep the troubled automakers in business, while just 36% approve.

On other economic policies, 55% approve of the $800 billion economic stimulus passed in February and an even larger majority (73%) approves of substantially increasing spending on roads, bridges and other public works projects. But only about half (49%) approves of spending billions to keep financial markets secure and Obama draws mixed ratings for his handling of this issue (50% approve, 40% disapprove). Overall opinions about Obama’s economic policies have changed little since March.

The survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted among 1,502 adults June 10-14, shortly after Obama’s major overseas trip, finds the public rendering largely positive judgments about his approach to foreign policy. Currently, 57% approve of Obama’s handling of foreign policy, which is largely unchanged from April (61%). 

Read the full report Obama's Ratings Remain High Despite Some Policy Concerns on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.

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