- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 6, 2009

For the first time in his presidency, Barack Obama has hit zero.

The Rasmussen Reports’ daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday showed that 34 percent of Americans “strongly approve” of President Obama’s job performance, but for the first time, 34 percent also “strongly disapprove.”

“For most of his five months in office, the presidents approval ratings have remained quite stable. However, that has not been the case over the past couple of weeks,” the Rasmussen Web site said.

After a bounce from the president’s nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who would become the first Hispanic on the Supreme Court, his approval rating began to fall, in part because of the GM bailout, which the poll found just 26 percent of Americans support.

Overall, 53 percent of voters say they “approve” — strongly or otherwise — of the president’s performance so far. “That’s his lowest level of overall approval to date,” the site said. Forty-six percent now disapprove — his highest disapproval rate to date.

When he took office, Mr. Obama’s “presidential approval index” — derived by subtracting his “strongly disapprove” from his “strongly approve” — ran in the high double digits, at +30 points two days after he took office. Since then, it has been on a steady slide downward; after six weeks in double digits, it dropped to just +8 on March 7.

Less than three months later, his index rating dropped to zero for the first time — as many people approve of his performance as disapprove.

His speech last week in Cairo didn’t help: Only 28 percent of voters nationwide expect that U.S. relations with the Muslim world will get better over the next year.

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