Bin Laden Bump Gone, Economic Pessimism Drags Down Obama’s Approval Rating

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June 7, 2011 5:57 a.m.
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One month after Osama bin Laden’s death gave a big boost to President Obama’s approval rating, an ABC News/ Washington Post poll released Tuesday finds that that spike has all but evaporated, as Americans’ deep concerns about the struggling economy have significantly dragged down the President’s job rating.

In addition, Obama received his worst marks ever on his handling of the economy and the federal deficit. As a result, his standing has slipped so much that he’s now in a statistical dead heat with Mitt Romney in a theoretical test of the 2012 election.

As a whole, the survey shows broad discontent with the pace of the economic recovery, and it serves as a reminder that the economy’s health will be a major factor heading into next year’s elections.In the poll, 47% of Americans rated Obama’s job performance positively, compared to 49% who rated it negatively, a huge shift from last month when Obama posted a positive 56% to 38% split in the wake of bin Laden’s death. The current TPM Poll Average shows that 50.9% of Americans approve of Obama’s job performance, compared to 44.5% who disapprove.

Only 40% of Americans said Obama has done a good job stewarding the nation’s economy, according to the poll, matching the previous low he notched last month. However, the percentage who said he has handled the economy poorly ticked up from 55% last month to 59% now, a record high in the ABC/Washington Post poll.

On top of that finding, the survey also showed that nearly six in ten Americans don’t think the economy has even begun to turn around yet.

According to the latest TPM Poll Average, 41.4% of Americans approve of Obama’s handling of the economy, verus 55.6% who say the opposite.

And as the debate over the debt ceiling and the federal deficit begins to take shape in Washington, the survey found that Obama’s approval rating with respect to the federal deficit has also dropped to a new low. Nearly twice as many Americans (61%) think Obama is doing a poor job handling the deficit as the number who think he has done a good job on that front (33%.)

Obama did manage to post solid leads over five out of six possible Republican challengers — Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann, and Jon Huntsman — who were tested against him in hypothetical 2012 scenarios. However, Mitt Romney, who has consistently been Obama’s toughest adversary in these contests, tied the president at 47% in a test among all adults — and actually eked out a slim lead among registered voters, winning that pairing 49% to 46%.

Last month, Obama topped all comers including Romney, whom he led 49% to 45% among both registered voters and al adults.

The ABC News/Washington Post survey was conducted June 2-5 among 1,002 adults nationwide. It has a margin of error of 3.5%

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