Obama's Overall Approval Tops Economy, Foreign Affairs Ratings

By Michael D. Pitman, Journal-News, Hamilton, Ohio
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Aug. 21--In a recent Gallup Poll, President Barack Obama's overall job approval rating has exceeded his approval ratings on both the economy and foreign affairs.

The poll, conducted by phone from Aug. 7-10, shows Obama's overall approval rating at 44 percent. However, in the same poll his approval rating for handling foreign affairs is at 36 percent and for handling the economy is at 35 percent.

According to Gallup's report, presidents generally have a higher overall rating than on both the economy and foreign affairs.

"This has been the most common pattern, describing five of the nine presidential terms since 1981, including Obama's second term to date," according to the report.

In the president's first term, his approval rating for foreign affairs was at 50 percent, which matched his overall job rating. His economic approval rating was at 41 percent in Obama's first term.

Obama's job approval average for his second term is at 45 percent while his average foreign affairs approval and economy ratings are at 39 percent and 38 percent, respectively.

Speaker of the House John Boehner is arguably one of the president's biggest critics. He said in January about the country's national security programs following a speech by Obama:

"Our national security programs exist to root out terrorist threats and save American lives -- and they have. Because the president has failed to adequately explain the necessity of these programs, the privacy concerns of some Americans are understandable. When considering any reforms, however, keeping Americans safe must remain our top priority. When lives are at stake, the president must not allow politics to cloud his judgment."

In June, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said following Obama's announcement to deploy a limited number of military advisors to Iraq for a non-combat training mission:

"What is going on in Iraq right now is an Iraqi civil war and is ultimately something Iraqis must resolve for themselves.

"(Obama's) decision gives America the flexibility to take precise action against threats to our national security and keeps Iraqi authorities accountable for maintaining the security of their own country."

Following the president's presentation of the 2015 budget, Boehner said:

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"In the president's vision for our future, America's budget never balances -- ever. After dramatically expanding entitlement programs, the president now believes our entirely predictable long-term debt crisis is the next president's problem."

In July, Reid said in response to some of Obama's recent proposals to grow the economy:

"Every day I am impressed by President Obama's focus on restoring a vibrant economy. And every day I am encouraged by his optimism that with a little cooperation and the help of a few reasonable Republicans, we will achieve that goal. I look forward to hearing more details of his proposals in the coming days and weeks."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that it is the Republicans who are making it tough for the administration to work to grow the economy. Following the July jobs report, the California Democrat said, "Republicans ... continue to protect tax breaks for corporations offshoring American jobs. They will leave Washington refusing to raise the minimum wage, blocking emergency unemployment insurance, denying America's women the fairness of equal pay for equal work, and ignoring millions of young people crushed beneath student loan debt."

The president's average ratings are not the lowest since Gallup measured ratings for foreign affairs and economy during President Ronald Reagan's first term.

In President George W. Bush's second term, his foreign affairs rating was at 38 percent, and his father, President George H.W. Bush, had the lowest rating for handling the economy at 35 percent.

The highest ratings on foreign affairs and the economy belong, respectively, to George H.W. Bush (63 percent) and President Bill Clinton (69 percent).

Gallup regularly began measuring presidential approval for handling the economy and foreign affairs during Ronald Reagan's presidency.


(c)2014 the Journal-News (Hamilton, Ohio)

Visit the Journal-News (Hamilton, Ohio) at www.journal-news.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Wordcount: 659

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