Obama scores on foreign policy, loses on budget issues

June 9th, 2009 - 1:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama By Arun Kumar
Washington, June 9 (IANS) Americans give President Barack Obama high marks on handling foreign affairs, the economy, terrorism and the situation in the Mideast, but the deficit mounting and federal spending earn him public disapproval, two new polls show.

A Gallup poll conducted May 29-31 has Obama’s overall job approval ratio at 61 percent to 34 percent which is lower than his personal favourability ratio of 67 percent to 32 percent. The margin of error is 3 points and the poll included adults, not just voters.

Obama gets approval marks ranging from 55 percent to 59 percent on handling foreign affairs, the economy, terrorism and the situation in the Mideast. Forty-seven percent approve of how he is dealing with the situation in North Korea compared to 33 percent who do not.

His negative marks are on budget issues: by 48 percent to 46 percent, the public disapproves of how he is handling the deficit and when it comes to federal spending, the public doesn’t think he is doing enough to control it by 51 percent to 45 percent.

Obama is in positive territory but with somewhat lower approval numbers in a Marist Institute poll conducted June 1-3 that surveyed registered voters.

The Marist results on foreign policy were similar to those of Gallup. Voters approved of Obama’s handling of it by 54 percent to 32 percent. He gets strong support on Afghanistan with an approval-to-disapproval ratio of 57 percent to 24 percent, with Republicans going along by 41 percent to 34 percent.

On handling the war on terrorism, 51 percent approve of Obama’s performance compared to 32 percent who disapprove. On this score, Republicans disapprove 58 percent to 23 percent.

Fifty percent feel things are going in the right direction in the country while 40 percent do not. They approve of his job performance 56 percent to 32 percent with 12 percent undecided. Democrats overwhelmingly approve of Obama while independents do so by 51 percent to 32 percent and Republicans disapprove by 61 percent to 23 percent.

Asked what direction voters thought Obama was taking the country, 49 percent said he was changing it for the better while 29 percent said it was for the worse, and 17 percent were undecided.

Voters approved Obama’s handling of the economic crisis by 53 percent to 39 percent and, of the economy in general, by 53 percent to 41 percent. They still believe current economic conditions are mostly something Obama inherited by 74 percent to 18 percent.

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