Poll: Obama Approval Rating at New Low

Poll: Obama Approval Rating at New Low

By David Byler - August 6, 2014

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey shows that only 40 percent of respondents now approve of President Obama's job performance. This is a new low for Obama in the NBC/WSJ poll, a one percentage-point drop since June. Americans are not only frustrated by the president, however: Respondents expressed deep discontentment with Republicans and Democrats, as well as the overall political landscape and the economy.

“We’re in the summer of our discontent,” said Democratic pollster Peter Hart. (His firm, Hart Research Associates, conducted the survey with Public Opinion Strategies, headed by Republican pollster Bill McInturff.) “Americans are cranky, unhappy … with everything going on the world.”

Congressional Democrats received slightly better approval ratings than Republicans, but neither group is very popular. Thirty-one percent of those surveyed said they had a somewhat or very positive impression of Democrats in Congress, and 19 percent had a positive impression of congressional Republicans.

Despite this difference, 44 percent said they preferred a Republican-controlled Congress to 43 percent favoring a Democratic-controlled one. Additionally, one-third of Americans said they wanted their vote for Congress this November to send the message “that we need more incumbents from both parties to lose so Congress has a lot of new people.” This comes on the heels of a Washington Post-ABC News poll showing that 51 percent of Americans disapprove of the way their own member of Congress is handling his or her job -- showing that anti-incumbent frustration has caused voters to see their own representative, and not just Congress as a whole, as the problem.

According to the poll, 57 percent of Americans are upset enough about some issue to carry a protest sign for an entire day.

“The public seems have moved beyond the plaintive cry of ‘Feel our pain!’ to the more angry pronouncement of ‘You are causing our pain!’” said pollster Fred Yang of Hart Research Associates.

The public was divided on which issues are upsetting them most. Some said they would carry a sign about domestic problems like the border crisis or congressional gridlock, while others cited foreign concerns such as the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the volatile situation in Ukraine.

Americans are also still feeling the effects of the 2008 financial collapse and the Great Recession. Almost half of respondents said that the United States is still in an economic recession and over two-thirds said they remain in some way negatively affected by it.

The NBC/WSJ poll, conducted July 30-Aug. 3, surveyed 1,000 adults and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

David Byler is an elections analyst for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @davidbylerRCP.

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