Obama Gets Negative Marks From Voters Upset With Policies

President Barack Obama gets negative marks from registered U.S. voters for his handling of foreign policy, immigration and the economy, and a decline in support from women and independents kept down his overall performance rating in a poll released today.

The Quinnipiac University survey showed 48 percent of respondents disapproving of Obama’s job performance and 44 percent approving, virtually unchanged from the 49 percent negative rating and 45 percent positive mark for him in a May poll. In an April poll, Obama was given a positive grade by 49 percent and a negative one by 45 percent.

The president “is in a slump, under water for the last two surveys,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Hamden, Connecticut-based Quinnipiac polling institute.

“Generally, voters don’t seem happy with some of the president’s policies, but they still give him majority support on his personal characteristics such as honesty and leadership,” Brown said.

His backing from women voters has taken a “noticeable drop,” according to a statement issued by the institute, falling to a 48 approval rating in the new poll from 56 percent in April.

Women voters were a crucial element of Obama’s re-election coalition, supporting him, 55 percent to 44 percent, as men voters backed Republican challenger Mitt Romney, 52 percent to 45 percent, according to exit polling. Obama won the overall popular vote, 51 percent to 47 percent.

Independent Voters

Today’s Quinnipiac poll shows Obama’s approval rating also declining among independent voters, to 36 percent now from 44 percent in the April survey.

Since early May, the Obama administration has been battered by the Internal Revenue Service’s admission that it flagged Tea Party groups when reviewing applications for nonprofit status, by revelations that the Justice Department seized journalists’ records as part of its probes into leaks of national security information, and by Edward Snowden’s disclosure of the government’s broad surveillance of telephone calls and Internet usage. Snowden, who worked for McLean, Virginia-based federal contractor Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp. (BAH), fled the country and faces espionage charges.

The administration also has faced criticism over its policy toward Syria, wracked by civil war, and its response to the ouster of the elected Islamic government in Egypt by the military.

Foreign Affairs

In the new poll, respondents disapproved of the way Obama handled foreign policy, 52 percent to 40 percent.

On Syria, 48 percent gave him negative marks and 33 percent positive ratings. With the administration recently announcing plans to send arms to the rebels seeking to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, 61 percent said the U.S. shouldn’t get involved in the conflict and 59 percent opposed arming the anti-government groups.

By 49 percent to 38 percent, voters did approve of the use of unmanned drones or missiles to attack Syrian government targets.

On the domestic front, voters disapproved of Obama’s handling of the immigration issue, 50 percent to 41 percent.

Hispanics were another key voting bloc for Obama in 2012, backing him 71 percent to 27 percent over Romney. The president has spotlighted as a second-term priority passage of a revision of immigration policy that includes a path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

Obama also got low marks on his handling of the economy, with 41 percent approving and 55 percent disapproving.

Still, by 35 percent to 22 percent, poll respondents said the economy was improving. And by 44 percent to 38 percent, they said they trusted Obama more than congressional Republicans to fix it.

Payrolls grew by 195,000 workers last month, with the national unemployment rate remaining at 7.6 percent.

The June 28-July 8 survey of 2,014 registered voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan D. Salant in Washington at jsalant@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jeanne Cummings at jcummings21@bloomberg.net.

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