Just 39% of Americans approve of the way President Obama is handling the economy, according to a new Gallup poll out in advance of the State of the Union speech tonight.
Also, just 31% approve of his handling of the deficit. The only issue the president scores a majority of approval is national defense.
President Obama earns a 39% job approval rating for his handling of the economy, similar to his ratings on the issue one year ago. Among domestic issues, Obama's rating on the economy is above only his 31% rating for handling the federal deficit. Across nine issues, Americans give Obama his highest approval ratings for handling national defense (53%), followed by foreign affairs and immigration, each at 46%.
If President Obama focuses on the economy in his fourth State of the Union address Tuesday night, as news reports indicate he will do, he will be dealing with an area in which the American public gives him relatively low performance ratings. The president's 39% rating on handling the economy is essentially the same as the 38% from this time last year, although lower than the ratings of 45% and 44% he received just before and just after last November's presidential election. Obama received his lowest rating on the economy (26%) in August 2011, in the aftermath of the debt ceiling fight in Washington. Obama earned his highest economic rating, 59%, in February 2009 -- in the first measure after he took office.
Meanwhile, a Quinnipiac poll shows that people rate the economy and the deficit as the top issues facing the country.
Americans are eager to hear President Barack Obama address the U.S. economy and federal deficit in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, with more than half still convinced the nation is in a recession, a poll released on Monday found.
Gun policy and healthcare are also top concerns U.S. voters want the president to discuss in his annual speech to the nation, according to the survey by Quinnipiac University.
Obama, who began his second term last month after winning re-election in November, is expected to use Tuesday night's speech to offer his plan for spurring the tepid economy, including proposals for investments in infrastructure, manufacturing, clean energy and education.
The nationwide poll found 35 percent of U.S. voters said the economy was a top concern, while 20 percent pointed to the federal deficit. It also showed 53 percent said the U.S. economy is still in a recession even though economists have said the downturn that began in late 2007 officially ended in July 2009.
The White House will claim there are "pockets" of the country that are still in recession, but that's bogus. With more than half the country refusing to believe we are out of recession, it's pretty clear that most Americans still can't get jobs, or are worried about losing the one they have. Housing is ticking upward slowly but we have miles to go before home prices, home building, and resales can be considered healthy.
The people don't want to hear how Obama is going to achieve immigration reform or gun control. They want to know when is he going to get serious about the economy. So far, they haven't had that question answered.