A year after President Barack Obama's political honeymoon ended, his job approval rating has dropped to a negative 44 - 48 percent, his worst net score ever, and American voters say by a narrow 39 - 36 percent margin that they would vote for an unnamed Republican rather than President Obama in 2012, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.
This compares to a 48 - 43 percent approval for Obama in a May 26 national poll by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University and a 57 - 33 percent approval last July, just before the political firestorm created by opposition to his health care plan galvanized political opponents and turned independent voters against him.
In this latest survey of more than 2,000 voters, independent voters disapprove of Obama 52 - 38 percent and say 37 - 27 percent they would vote for a Republican contender in 2012.
American voters also say 48 - 40 percent Obama does not deserve reelection in 2012.
Anti-incumbent sentiment slams both parties as voters disapprove 59 - 31 percent of the job Democrats are doing, and disapprove 59 - 29 percent of Republicans in Congress. But voters say 43 - 38 percent they would vote for a Republican in a generic Congressional race.
American voters say 42 - 32 percent that Obama has been a better president than George W. Bush, similar to the 43 - 30 percent who felt that way in January of 2010.
"It was a year ago, during the summer of 2009 that America's love affair with President Barack Obama began to wane. In July of 2009, the President had a 57 - 33 percent approval rating. Today, his support among Democrats remains strong, but the disillusionment among independent voters, who dropped from 52 - 37 percent approval to 52 - 38 percent disapproval in the last 12 months, is what leads to his weakness overall when voters start thinking about 2012," said Peter A. Brown., assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
"In politics a month is a lifetime and we have 28 months until November of 2012. But politicians with re-elect numbers at 40 percent bear watching," Brown added.
American voters like Obama more than Sarah Palin, giving him a 49 - 45 percent favorability, while she gets a negative 35 - 49 percent.
Michelle Obama does much better, with a 55 - 19 percent favorability.
Twelve percent of voters say they are more likely to support a candidate for office, if Obama campaigns for the candidate, compared to 16 percent if Palin campaigns.
The country would be better off if John McCain had won the 2008 election, 37 percent of voters say, while 35 percent say the U.S. would be worse off. This compares to 37 - 35 percent who thought in January the U.S. would be worse off under McCain.
Asked to describe their feelings toward the President, 17 percent say they admire him; 33 percent are satisfied; 33 percent are dissatisfied and 15 percent are angry with him.
"The Republican tilt of the electorate little more than 100 days before the 2010 election is evident, but not overwhelming. Republicans hold a 43 - 38 percent lead on the 'generic ballot,' compared to a 42 - 34 percent Democratic lead in July 2009," said Brown. "What a difference a year makes."
Voter approval of the President's handling of some of the nation's problems shows:
* Disapprove 56 - 39 percent of his handling of the economy;
* Disapprove 46 - 43 percent of his handling of foreign policy;
* Disapprove 51 - 41 percent of his handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill;
* Disapprove 58 - 30 percent of his handling of illegal immigration;
* Approve 46 - 34 percent of his nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.
"The massive disapproval of his handling of illegal immigration stems from voter opposition to his decision to have the government ask the federal courts to throw out the Arizona law. They say 60 - 28 percent the lawsuit is a bad idea," said Brown.
Support for the war in Afghanistan hit a new low with 48 percent saying it was the right thing to do and 43 percent saying America should not be involved. That's not much different from May's 49 - 42 percent support, but markedly down from 56 - 36 percent in April.
From July 13 - 19, Quinnipiac University surveyed 2,181 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of +/- 2.1 percentage points.
The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio and the nation as a public service and for research. For more data or RSS feed- http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter. (More)