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Voters, Especially Independents, Sour on Obama and Congress

4 years ago
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Voters are in a sour mood both about President Obama and Congress, with a plurality disapproving of Obama's job performance and a significant percentage saying that if the 2010 elections were held today they would vote for a new candidate rather than their current representative, according to a Marist Institute poll conducted Feb 1-3. That mood is most pronounced among independents.

Forty-seven percent disapprove of the job Obama is doing while 44 percent approve, with 9 percent undecided. Independents disapprove by 57 percent to 29 percent, with 14 percent undecided. While Obama himself is still regarded favorably by 50 percent, with 44 percent seeing him unfavorably, that margin has dropped since December, when it was 55 percent to 41 percent in his favor. The poll's margin of error is 3.5 points.

Forty-seven percent said Obama had fallen below their expectations during his time in office while 42 percent said he had met them, with 7 percent saying he exceeded them and 4 percent unsure. Independents said Obama had fallen below their expectations by a 53 percent to 38 percent margin.

Thirty-eight percent said the direction in which Obama is moving the country is for the worse, 37 percent said it's for the better, 22 percent said it was producing no change at all and 3 percent were undecided. Forty-five percent of independents said Obama was changing the direction of the country for the worse compared to 26 percent who said it was for the better, with 27 percent seeing no change at all.

"If attracting Independents and bipartisanship are the aim, then the president clearly has a lot of ground to cover in year two," said Marist's Lee M. Miringoff.

If there was some good news for Obama, it was that 62 percent of voters still say the economic problems facing Obama are ones he inherited while 29 percent blame Obama's own policies, with 9 percent undecided. Republicans split on the question, with 44 percent blaming Obama and 43 percent pointing to conditions he inherited; 13 percent are undecided.

Forty-four percent said that if the midterm elections were held today they would back a new candidate for Congress, while 42 percent would stick with their current representative and 14 percent are undecided. Democrats would stick with their current congressman by a 51 percent to 35 percent margin, Republicans would vote for someone else by a 48 percent to 45 percent margin and independents would favor a new face by 50 percent to 34 percent.

A Fox News poll conducted Feb. 2-3 on the current vs. new candidate question found 38 percent favored a new candidate, 19 percent would re-elect their current representative and another 34 percent said their selection would depend on who the candidates were.

Fifty-six percent of voters see the midterms as their chance to send a message to Washington, while 36 percent said the elections were about local issues, with 8 percent undecided. Six out of 10 Republicans and independents saw their vote as sending a message to Washington, compared to 48 percent of Democrats.

Of those who said their vote would be a message to Washington, 32 percent said it would be aimed at Democrats in Congress, 21 percent at Obama, and 18 percent at congressional Republicans.

Sarah Palin got a lot of attention this weekend because of her role at the Tea Party's first national convention, and in interviews with Fox News she kept the door open to a 2012 presidential bid when asked if she would run.

Marist did a hypothetical 2012 match-up, which included New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg running as an independent, and Obama came out on top, 44 percent to Palin's 29 percent with 15 percent for Bloomberg and 12 percent undecided.

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