POLITICO - June 22, 2009 - By MICHAEL FALCONE & ANDY BARR
Eroding confidence in President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy and ability to control spending have caused his approval ratings to wilt to their lowest levels since taking office, according to a spate of recent polls, a sign of political weakness that comes just as he most needs leverage on Capitol Hill.
The good news for Obama is that his approval ratings — 57 percent in a Gallup tracking poll over the weekend — remain comfortably high by historical standards for presidents.
But the trend lines among a variety of polls over the past several days are unmistakable: Independents and even some Republicans who once viewed him sympathetically are becoming skeptical, and many people of all stripes are anxious about economic and fiscal trends.
Obama’s approval rating has dipped below 60 percent on other occasions according to Gallup, but while those slumps lasted only a day, this one appears to be more persistent.
So is the intensity of partisan reaction to Obama, who ran on the promise of softening ideological divisions and unifying Americans. On Sunday, a Rasmussen Reports tracking poll found that 32 percent of Americans strongly approved of the president while 32 percent strongly disapproved. Read more