A majority of Americans approves of President Barack Obama’s job on unemployment, but while they are increasingly pleased with how the president is tackling the economy, most Americans disapprove of his job performance overall, according to a new Associated Press-Gfk poll. Meanwhile, the American public isn’t confident that the president and Congress can work together to solve the country’s problems, with a plurality blaming both Obama and the legislature for not doing enough to work together, the poll found.
Obama added 6 percentage points to his job approval numbers from December in the new poll, up to 47 percent, and his disapproval rating dropped 6 percentage points, to 52 percent. So, majority of Americans still disapproves of the job he is doing.
On unemployment, 51 percent of respondents said they approved of Obama’s job, a 7-percentage-point increase since the question was last asked in early December. Another 48 percent said they disapprove of the president’s action, while 1 percent said they didn’t lean either way. The poll marked the first time Obama was in positive territory on unemployment since at least two years ago.
Obama’s numbers on the overall economy have improved to a 45 percent approval rating from December’s 41 percent, but a majority of voters still disapproves of the president on fiscal issues. About 52 percent said they disapprove of how Obama is handling the economy, while 1 percent said they don’t lean either way.
The president’s most unpopular stance, according to the poll, is on immigration. Obama announced executive actions late last year that would protect some 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation -- a move that angered Congress and set up a fight between the president and the legislature over how to fund the Department of Homeland Security, which enforces immigration. The agency is set to run out of money later this month if Congress doesn’t secure funding.
A majority of Americans -- 56 percent -- disapproves of how Obama is handling immigration, while 42 percent said they approve, and 1 percent said they don’t lean either way. The president fares only slightly better on health care, where 55 percent of Americans said they disapprove of his job, 43 percent said they approve, and 1 percent said they don’t lean either way.
Terrorism was the only issue other than unemployment in which the president had a majority of Americans approve of how he was handling it. About 51 percent said they approve of how Obama is handling terrorism, while 47 percent didn’t approve, and 1 percent said they didn’t lean either way. But when more specifically asked about the threat posed by the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, a majority of Americans disapproves of Obama’s performance. About 53 percent of respondents said they disapprove of Obama’s handling of ISIS, while 44 percent said they approve, and 2 percent said they don’t lean either way.
The public remains pessimistic about Obama and Congress working together. Only 16 percent said they were either very confident or somewhat confident that the two sides can come together while 83 percent said they were not confident. About one-fifth blamed Obama, 36 percent blamed Congress, and 42 percent blamed both the president and the legislature for their lack of confidence.
The AP-Gfk Public Affairs & Corporate Communications Poll conducted interviews with 1,045 American adults between Jan. 29 and Feb. 2. It has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.