​Obama approval rating tumbles: what next?

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November 2, 2013

President Barack Obama’s approval rating is tumbling amid reports that the U.S. is spying on its citizens and the recent problems with the health care law. Some pollsters say the President lied about insurance coverage and costs.

“The pollsters argue that no single reason explains Obama’s lower poll standing,” writes NBC senior political editor Mark Murray. “Rather, they attribute it to the accumulation of setbacks since the summer — allegations of spying by the National Security Agency, the debate over Syria’s chemical weapons, the government shutdown and now intense scrutiny over the problems associated with the health care law’s federal website and its overall implementation.”

Obama’s approval rating now stands at 42 percent — a low in NBC/WSJ’s polling. It had hovered in the mid-to-high 40s since April and was 47 percent in early October. The mood in general is profoundly anti-incumbent.

For example, only 22 percent now think the country is headed in the right direction, up 8 points since the first week of October, but still considerably below what it was before the shutdown.

However, nearly three-quarters of Americans think Congress contributes to America’s problems rather than solving them, and 63 percent say they’d like to elect a new representative in their district, the highest percentage since at least 1992.

In all, the poll of 800 Americans captured an extraordinarily deep and widespread public distaste for the two political parties, those parties’ leaders and the state of politics in the nation’s capital. Optimism about the U.S. system of government, at 30%, was at the lowest ebb in 40 years. Just 29% said their congressional representative deserved re-election–a new low.

House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, both Republicans, hit their highest negative ratings, as did Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat.

The image of the Republican Party, which hit an all-time low two weeks ago, dipped still further in the latest survey. Just 22% of Americans hold a positive view of the GOP, compared with 37% who see the Democratic Party favorably, according to Neil King and Allison Prang.

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