Obama Losing Luster; Job Approval Rating Down 7 Points to 57%

For the First Time since February, a Majority of Americans Say the Country Is on the Wrong Track

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Washington, DC – President Barack Obama’s job approval dropped 7 points, down to 57% from 64% in June according to a new telephone poll of over 1,000 adults conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs. Nearly four in ten (38%) say they disapprove of the way Obama is handling his job as President, up from 32% five weeks ago.

In addition, a majority of Americans (54%) say that things in this country are off on the wrong track for the first time since February. Currently, 40% say that the country is headed in the right direction, though down from 52% last month.

The survey shows no significant change when it comes to Americans’ perceptions of the economic climate, as 39% still fear that the worst is yet to come (up two points since June) and 49% believe that the economy has stabilized but has not yet begun to improve (up one point). Just 6% feel that the economy has already turned the corner (down three points).

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted July 9-13, 2009. For the survey, a nationally representative, randomly selected sample of 1007 adults aged 18 and older across the United States was interviewed by Ipsos. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult population in the U.S. been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error. These data were weighted to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the actual U.S. population according to U.S. Census figures. Respondents had the option to be interviewed in English or Spanish.

Obama’s Approval Rating Falls Sharply among Independents

Indicative of the softening support for Obama, the proportion of Americans who strongly approve of how he is handling his job shows a particularly notable drop of 11 points from 40% in June to 29% in July.

Americans across party lines are less likely to say that they approve of how Obama is handling his job as President. However, the decline is steepest among Independents: Obama’s approval rating among them is now 50% — down eight points since June and down 20 points since February.

  • At 24%, Obama’s rating among Republicans is down three points since June.
  • Among Democrats, it is down five points to 84%.

Groups who have become less positive toward Obama’s performance as President include women (58%, down 12 points since June), those with a household income of at least $50,000 (50%, down 14 points), and those who are neither employed nor retired (57%, down 17 points).

Despite these declines, Obama’s approval ratings have remained steady or have increased among some demographic groups, including Hispanics (82%, up one point) and African-Americans (88%, up 7 points).

Waning Optimism about the Direction of the Country among Democrats

While Democrats (58%) are more likely than are Independents (32%) and Republicans (19%) to say that the country is going in the right direction, it is among Democrats that optimism has waned the most since last month. Proportions of those holding a positive view about the direction of the country are down 16 points among Democrats, 13 points among Independents, but have held steady (down one point only) among Republicans.

Men tend to be more optimistic about the direction of the country than women (45% of men say right direction vs. just 35% of women).

Only retirees (50% right direction) and African-Americans (66%) are more likely to say that things are heading in the right direction than off on the wrong track.

No Improvement in the Economic Outlook

Across party lines, Republicans are most likely to fear that the economy will worsen still (55%), compared to 40% of Independents and just 27% of Democrats. However, Independents have grown more cynical about the economy over the past month; in June just 30% felt that the economy would deteriorate further, marking a jump of 10 points.

For more information on this news release, please contact:
Clifford Young
Senior Vice President
Ipsos Public Affairs

About Ipsos Public Affairs

Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research practice made up of seasoned professionals. We conduct strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research, but elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research.

Ipsos has media partnerships with the most prestigious news organizations around the world. Ipsos Public Affairs is the polling agency of record for The McClatchy Company, the third-largest newspaper company in the United States and the international polling agency of record for Thomson Reuters, the world’s leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals.

Ipsos Public Affairs is a member of the Ipsos Group, a leading global survey-basedmarket research company. We provide boutique-style customer service and work closely with our clients, while also undertaking global research.

In 2008, Ipsos generated global revenues of €979.3 million ($1.34 billion U.S.).

Visit www.ipsos.com to learn more about Ipsos offerings and capabilities.

Ipsos, listed on the Eurolist of Euronext – Comp B, is part of SBF 120 and the Mid-100 Index, adheres to the Next Prime segment and is eligible to the Deferred Settlement System. Isin FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP

Obama Losing Luster; 
Job Approval Rating Down 7 Points to 57%


Clifford Young
President, US
Ipsos Public Affairs