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Obama approval below 50 per cent for first time: Quinnipiac poll

below, release from Quinnipiac……





President Barack Obama’s job approval rating is 48 – 42 percent, the first time he has slipped below the 50 percent threshold nationally, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Support for the war in Afghanistan and approval of President Obama’s handling of the war also is down in the last month, and Republican support for the war is more than twice as strong as Democratic support.

American voters say 48 – 41 percent that fighting the war in Afghanistan is the right thing to do, down from 52 – 37 percent in an October 7 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University. Voters disapprove 49 – 38 percent of the President’s handling of the war there, down from 42 – 40 percent approval in October.

But voters say 65 – 29 percent, including 68 – 25 percent among military households, that eliminating the threat of terrorists operating from Afghanistan “is a worthwhile goal for American troops to fight and possibly die for,” compared to 65 – 28 percent last month.

Voters say 47 – 42 percent that President Obama should send 40,000 more combat troops to Afghanistan as the military commanders on the ground have requested. Only 27 percent of Democrats want more troops, compared to 68 percent of Republicans. Similarly, 68 percent of Republicans, but only 31 percent of Democrats, think the United States is doing the right thing fighting in Afghanistan.

“Increasingly, the President finds himself with two different coalitions, one that backs him on domestic matters and a completely different one that backs him on Afghanistan. That could create a challenge to his considerable political skills,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

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Quinnipiac University Poll/November 18, 2009 – page 2

Most American voters, 55 percent, say the U.S. should keep troops in Afghanistan for two years or less, up from 49 percent last month. Only 27 percent of voters say keep troops there as long as it takes, down from 30 percent. And 35 percent say the U.S. is getting into a situation like Vietnam, up from 32 percent last month.

“Although President Obama’s job approval rating is below 50 percent for the first time nationally, it is not statistically different from his 50 percent approval rating in October. Nevertheless, in politics symbols matter and this is not a good symbol for the White House,” said Brown. “Moreover, the percentage who approve of the way he is handling the economy has dropped from a split 47 – 46 percent approval in October to 52 – 43 percent disapproval today.”

The President has a yawning gender and racial gap, with women approving his job performance 52 – 37 percent, compared to men’s 47 – 44 percent disapproval. He gets 89 percent job approval among blacks and 62 percent approval among Hispanics while white voters disapprove 49 – 41 percent. His support also wanes as you go up the age and income scale.

“Overall, the new numbers on Afghanistan show an almost across the board erosion of support for the war and worries about getting too deeply involved there militarily. But when the focus is on fighting terror, American resolve remains strong,” Brown said.

“Still, these results are an indication that there is not much stomach for a long-term U.S. commitment there and the number of Americans who feel that way is growing.

“One reason the President’s approval for his handling of the Afghanistan situation may be falling is the criticism he is not deciding on troop levels quickly enough.”

American voters trust Obama 53 – 42 percent to make the right decisions about troop levels, down from 55 – 38 percent in October. Voters trust the military 77 – 18 percent to make the right recommendations on that question, compared to 81 – 15 percent last month.

From November 9 – 16, Quinnipiac University surveyed 2,518 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of +/- 2 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio and the nation as a public service and for research.

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