The Pew Center for the People and the Press just completed their monthly presidential approval survey (June 12-16; Princeton Survey Research Associates International; 1,512 US adults; 758 on landlines, 755 on cell phones, 575 Independents, 487 Democrats, 388 Republicans) and find that President Obama’s ratings are largely unchanged despite the multiple scandals building around him. According to the data, 49 percent approve of the president’s job performance versus 43 percent who do not. In May, the ratio was 51:43 percent.
While he continues to score high on his handling of the terrorism issue, 56:35 percent positive to negative, his worst numbers come, not surprisingly, in the area of privacy and civil liberties (42:51 percent). Considering the revelations surrounding the IRS and National Security Agency (NSA), the results again continue the phenomenon of largely not blaming the President himself for his own Administration’s policies and practices.
On the economy, the respondents’ outlook is still largely negative but clearly improving. Forty-four percent say they approve of the president’s handling of the economy versus 50 percent who disapprove, but that is up from his 40:56 percent ratio when last asked in Pew’s Feb. 13-16 poll.
Impressions of how the economy will perform in the future is up substantially just since their March 2013 study. Thirty-three percent of the current respondents view the economy as being better a year from now, compared to 19 percent who say it will be worse. Forty-seven percent believe it will largely be the same. In March, those same percentages were 25-32-41 percent (better-worse-same).
Comparing responses about job availability from one year ago, presently 29 percent say jobs are plentiful in their geographic area versus 64 percent who say employment is hard to find. At this time in 2012, the response ratio was 16:78 percent.
The question pertaining to Obama’s legacy was again asked. Among the current respondents, 34 percent believe history will view the president as a success, 31 percent say he will be regarded as a failure, while 33 percent say it is too early to tell. In January, this ratio was 33 percent success; 26 percent failure; 39 percent too early. His worst outlook came in January of 2012 when 27 percent thought his presidency would be regarded successfully, 32 percent said he will be rated as a failure, and 39 percent said it is too early to decide. Immediately upon taking office in 2009, 30 percent said he would become a success, just 4 percent said failure, while 65 percent said it was too early to provide a response.
As has historically been the case when rating President Obama, the polar opposite responses are virtually equal. The top verbatim response about the president when asked to describe him with one word, was “good”, or a “good man.” Thirty-four of the 769 people answering the question used this term or phrase. Just as many, 36 of 769, said he is “incompetent” or “inept.”
Eighteen of the 769 said he is “honest,” and the exact same number (18) said he is a “liar.” Fifteen said he is “great,” but another 15 labeled him as a “Socialist.” Virtually the same number (13 of 769) described him as either “fantastic,” “charismatic” or “interesting” as believe (15 of 769) he is an “idiot,” “poor” or “untruthful.”
Considering the controversies flying around his administration during the past month, Obama’s core popularity ratings still remain relatively good. His overall 49 percent favorable job approval score puts him in better shape than former President George W. Bush, who posted 42 percent at this same interval during his administration, but below ex-President Bill Clinton’s 54 percent positive score.