Washington, March 19 (IANS) For the first time since September, President Barack Obama’s approval rating has dipped below 50 percent even as a majority of Americans views opposition Republicans as an “out of touch” party of “stuffy old men.”
Half of the people surveyed in a CNN/ORC International poll released Monday said they disapprove of the job Obama’s doing in the White House.
The president’s stand on the issues and the glaring spotlight in recent months on fiscal and budget issues are contributing to the drop in his overall numbers, the poll found.
The expected partisan divide was evident in the poll with Democrats overwhelmingly approving of the president and Republicans overwhelmingly disapproving. Obama had a 41 percent approval and 53 percent disapproval among independent voters.
Forty-seven percent said they approve of the job Obama’s doing in office, down eight points since the start of the year, with 50 percent saying they disapprove.
That’s up seven points from January and it’s the highest that number has been in over a year.
By a 57 percent-42 percent margin, those surveyed said Obama has the personal qualities a president should have.
“Americans still respond positively to the president’s personal characteristics – it’s his stands on the issues that they disagree with,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
“Fewer than a third approve of how the president is handling the government’s budget and fiscal policies, and the White House’s ‘charm offensive’ has not registered with the American public,” he said referring to Obama’s recent efforts to reach out to the Republicans.
The poll also found that 54 percent of Americans have an unfavourable view of the Republican Party, with less than three in ten saying they view it in a favourable light.
“The Democrats are not overwhelmingly popular – 46 percent of Americans have a favourable view of the Democrats, compared to 48 percent with an unfavourable view – but in a two-party system, you only need to be more popular than your opponent to have an advantage,” Holland said.
Just over two-thirds of those questioned in the survey said the Republican Party favours the rich and nearly half think the Republican party’s policies are too extreme.