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Voters Rate Obama More Negatively on the Economy, National Security

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Voters haven’t exactly been singing President Obama’s praises lately when it comes to economy and national security issues,  but they’re even more critical of him now.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 32% rate Obama’s handling of economic issues as good or excellent, down two points from the previous week and the lowest positive ratings since early December. Nearly half (47%) rate him poorly on the economy, up four points from last week and the highest poor rating since the same early December survey. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Congress this week passed a “clean” bill to raise the federal debt ceiling without spending cuts attached. While voters agree that not raising the debt ceiling would be bad for the economy, they also wanted a deal that includes significant spending cuts.

Voters are more divided over the president’s handling of national security issues, though he fares only slightly better. Thirty-seven percent (37%) give him good or excellent ratings for his handling of such issues, down from 43% a week ago and the lowest since early September. Slightly more (39%) rate him poorly in this area.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced last week that it will seek the death penalty for accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. More voters than ever support that decision, but they're less confident that the death penalty is an effective tool to guard the nation’s security against terrorism.

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The national survey of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted on February 10-11, 2014 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Men, in general, tend to be more critical of Obama in both areas than women are. Older voters are also more critical of the president than younger voters.

Most Democrats give Obama good or excellent marks for the economic and national security issues, while Republicans rate him poorly on both. Among unaffiliated voters, just 19% rate him positively on the economy, while 55% give him poor marks. On national security, 26% of unaffiliateds rate him positively, while 41% rate his handling of such issues as poor.

At least half of Mainstream voters rate Obama poorly in both areas, while the majority of Political Class voters give him good or excellent marks.

President Obama’s total job approval rose a point to 48% in January. That’s up from 45% in November, the president’s lowest monthly approval in two years, but still down eight points from December 2012’s recent high of 56%.

His daily job approval rating generally remains at the levels seen for most of his presidency. 

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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