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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

According to a new Pew Research Center poll, President Barack Obama’s approval rating continues to slide amid increased economic pessimism.

The poll finds Obama’s approval rating at 47 percent, down four points from February and eight points from December — 46 percent now disapprove of the president’s job performance.

Interestingly, Obama’s declining numbers closely mirror George W. Bush’s approval ratings at the beginning of his second term:

pew approval rating chart

Bush never reversed the tailspin, and saw his approval rating drop to a paltry 25 percent during his final days in office.

While some of Obama’s decline can be attributed to a natural regression from the spike he experienced after being re-elected, Obama’s poor numbers also seem to be related to an uptick in economic pessimism. Despite a string of good economic news over the past few months — including a new record high for the Dow Jones and a better-than-expected February jobs report that dropped the unemployment rate to a four-year low of 7.7 percent — the poll finds Americans deeply skeptical of the economy’s future… 32 percent now believe economic conditions will be worse one year from now, compared to 25 percent who believe they will be better, and 41 percent who think they’ll stay the same.

Still, the poll does have some good news for the president. Despite his decreased approval rating, Americans still trust him over his Republican opponents — 53 percent have a great or fair amount of confidence in President Obama to deal with the federal budget deficit, compared to 39 percent for congressional Republican leaders.

Furthermore, the public continues to side with Obama’s budget priorities over the GOP’s — 55 percent say it’s more important to keep Social Security and Medicare benefits as they are than to reduce the deficit, while just 34 percent believe the opposite.

pew benefits chart
These numbers are almost unchanged since June, 2011, suggesting that Paul Ryan’s most recent budget plan — which would slash Medicare and Medicaid in hopes of balancing the budget within 10 years — stands little chance of swaying popular opinion.

The full results of the Pew poll can be seen here

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