President Obama’s economic bind, in three charts

August 21, 2013

It's (still) "the economy, stupid."

The famous words coined by Clinton strategist James Carville for the 1992 presidential campaign ring true these days for President Obama, whose approval rating is most heavily influenced by what Americans think of his economic stewardship, according to data from Gallup.

The data show that Americans are more than six times more likely to approve of the overall job Obama is doing if they approve of his handling of the economy. It's substantially more determinative than a host of other issues, including health care, terrorism  and immigration, among others.

And therein lies a problem for Obama, at least for now. The president has received less-than-ideal marks of late on the economy, the issue that is such a major part of what the public thinks of him as president. The following chart sums it up:

Just 35 percent of Americans approved of the job Obama is doing on the economy, according to Gallup's most recent survey, while more than six in ten Americans disapproved. (Overall, Obama's approval rating stood at 44 percent in the early August poll.) While other surveys from earlier in the summer were not quite as bad for Obama, he has still consistently been below 50 percent on the economy.

It's worth noting that Obama's approval rating on the economy hovered between 38 percent and 44 percent in 2012, the year he was reelected. During the campaign, the president stressed the steps he took to try to heal the economy after the recession that seized it late last decade.

The bottom line right now is that the economy continues to be a major driver of the way Obama's job performance is perceived. And there are no signs that will change any time soon.

Peyton M. Craighill contributed to this report. Craighill is a pollster with Capital Insight, the independent polling group of Washington Post Media

Sean Sullivan covers national politics for “The Fix.”
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Chris Cillizza | August 21, 2013