President Obama draws only about even on the most basic rating for a political figure: 48 percent of all Americans see him favorably, and 49 percent unfavorably in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Fully one-third have a strongly unfavorable view of the the president, 10 points higher than the number holding a strongly favorable opinion. All these figures are little changed since a September poll showed him below the 50-percent-mark for the first time since becoming president.
The anemic economic recovery continues to drag down Obama’s popularity numbers, as well as his approval ratings, which remain stuck in the low- to mid-40s. Nearly three-quarters of the public has an unfavorable view of the direction of the economy, with a slim majority holding “strongly unfavorable” impressions.
Those views of the economy offer a bright dividing line for Obama. Among those who lament the economy’s direction, 58 percent hold an unfavorable view of Obama. Over three quarters have favorable impressions of Obama among those who see the economy more favorably.
A sticking point for Obama is the gradual increase in unfavorable ratings among independents, to 52 percent. It is the first time a majority of those in the political center have rated him unfavorably.
In September there was a notable decrease in intensely positive views of Obama among African Americans. They fell from 83 percent in April to 58 percent. In the new poll, he’s made up some of that lost ground, rising to 71 percent “strongly favorable” among African Americans. Only 7 percent of them have unfavorable views of the president.