Following two weeks of economic turmoil that included the United States’ first-ever credit downgrade and an unpredictable stock market, a new poll released Wednesday by Gallup finds President Barack Obama’s approval rating on the economy has reached his all-time low.
Only 26% of Americans approve of President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy, which is a new low, down 11 percentage points since Gallup last measured it in mid-May and well below his previous low of 35% in November 2010.
Barack Obama earns similarly low approval for his handling of the federal budget deficit (24%) and creating jobs (29%).
The president’s overall job approval rating among voters questioned August 11-14 was 41 percent, slightly lower than other polls conducted in August.
Barack Obama fares relatively better on foreign policy matters, with 53% of Americans approving of his handling of terrorism and roughly 4 in 10 approving on foreign affairs and the situation in Afghanistan.
Also, 41% of Americans approve of Obama on education. Americans’ approval of Obama on Afghanistan is down 15 points since mid-May, the most of any issue Gallup tracked during this period, though the resulting 38% approval rating is not the lowest he’s seen on this issue.
The decline follows a bounce to 53% after the killing of Osama bin Laden on May 1, and may partly reflect public reaction to the recent downing of a U.S. military helicopter in Afghanistan in which 30 American troops, many of them Navy SEALs, perished.
There was also a nine-point decline in Obama’s foreign affairs rating, to 42% from 51% in May. His current rating is a new low, but is not much lower than his prior low 44% and 45% foreign policy approval ratings in the second half of 2010; however, it is down nine points compared with the start of 2010.
Obama earns scant support on the issues among Republicans, and does not do much better among independents. In contrast to Democrats’ majority approval of Obama on all seven issues tested, fewer than half of independents approve of the president’s handling of any of these.
Not surprisingly, this period of public dissatisfaction with Obama’s handling of the economy overlapped with the period when he registered his lowest overall approval rating in Gallup’s daily tracking poll. In the Aug. 11-13 tracking poll, Obama’s approval rating hit 39 percent, having never previously dipped below 40 percent.
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Aug. 11-14, 2011, with a random sample of 1,008 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.