President Barack Obama has lost support among Democrats and liberals, resulting in this lowest job approval rating yet in polls conducted by the Marist Institute for McClatchy News. One consequence of the ratings drop: Republican Mitt Romney beats him in a hypothetical 2012 match-up. (Stor
y; Poll data
Fifty percent disapprove of Obama's performance, in the poll conducted Dec. 2-8, while 42 percent approve, with 8 percent undecided. In November, 48 percent disapproved of Obama's performance while 45 percent approved.
The poll was conducted during a week in which Obama announced a freeze on federal workers' pay and also struck a deal with Republicans to extend the Bush-era tax cuts to all Americans regardless of income, an agreement that drew protests from Democratic congressional leaders and spurred anger among liberals.
Among Democrats, Obama's job approval rating fell to 74 percent, from 83 percent a month ago, and dropped among liberals to 69 percent, from 78 percent.
The poll also included these match-ups between Obama and potential Republican challengers:
- Romney leads Obama by 46 percent to 44 percent, with 10 percent undecided. The margin of error is 3.5 points.
- Obama leads Sarah Palin by 52 percent to 40 percent, with 9 percent undecided.
- Obama leads Huckabee by 47 percent to 43 percent, with 6 percent undecided.
Romney leads Obama among independents by 47 percent to 39 percent, with 14 percent undecided, while Obama easily beats Palin among the same voters, by 52 percent to 35 percent, with 12 percent undecided. Palin gets 78 percent support from fellow Republicans, compared with 87 percent for Romney and 86 percent for Huckabee. Obama and Huckabee run about even among independents.
In one unrelated poll result, 59 percent of those surveyed said that those who publish secret or confidential U.S. documents, as WikiLeaks has done, should be prosecuted while 31 percent consider such disclosures to be protected under the First Amendment guarantee of a free press. Ten percent were undecided.
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