- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Forty-one percent of Americans approve of President Obama’s job performance — the lowest such rating of his presidency registered in a Washington Post-ABC News poll — and 52 percent disapprove.

Mr. Obama gets low approval ratings for his handling of the economy (42 percent), Russia (34 percent) and the implementation of his health care law (37 percent). Two-thirds of the country thinks things in the U.S. have gotten “pretty seriously off track,” and 30 percent say things are generally going in the right direction.

Forty-eight percent oppose Obamacare, and 44 percent support it. About a quarter of respondents say the country’s health care system is getting better as a result, while 73 percent say “worse” or “about the same.” About 80 percent say the quality of health care is the same or worse as a result, and almost 90 percent say their health care costs are the same or increasing as a result of the law.

President George W. Bush’s sinking approval ratings during 2006 over the administration’s handling of Iraq presaged historic victories for Democrats in that year’s midterm elections, and Mr. Obama is hoping to avoid a similar fate.

In a bit of good news for him and his party, 40 percent of respondents trust Democrats to do a better job coping with the major problems facing the country over the next few years compared to 34 percent for Republicans, and Democrats win plurality support on the questions of who would better handle the economy, health care, immigration, helping the middle class, and handling issues especially important to women.

Thirty percent of respondents think most Democrats deserve to be re-elected to Congress, compared to 25 percent for most Republicans. Among registered voters, 45 percent would vote for a Democratic candidate right now and 44 percent would vote for a Republican candidate.

But 58 percent of registered voters also say it’s more important to have Republicans in charge of Congress to check Mr. Obama, while 39 percent say it’s more important for Democrats to be in charge to help support his policies.

A plurality of adults, 44 percent to 35 percent, trust Republicans more on dealing with the federal budget deficit.

Forty-four percent also say the Republican party is closer to their own views on gun control, compared to 39 percent who say Democrats.

Pluralities give Democrats the nod, however, on abortion, gay marriage, raising the minimum wage, and climate change.

Thirty-two percent of respondents self-identified as Democrats, compared to 21 percent who said they were Republicans and 38 percent who are independents.

The poll of 1,000 adults taken from April 24-27 has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

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