- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 28, 2011

As President Obama takes on a more active role in dealing with the federal budget deficit, a majority of voters disapprove of the way he is handling the issue, according to a new poll released Tuesday.

Sixty-one percent of registered voters nationally do not approve of how the president has addressed the situation, say results of the national McClatchy-Marist poll.

Fewer than one-third of voters — 31 percent — approve of his handling of the issue, while 8 percent say they aren’t sure.

Voters also are voicing their dissatisfaction over the president’s overall handling of the economy, the poll found. Only 37 percent say the president is doing a good job on the issue — an all-time low for Mr. Obama in the firm’s polling.

While a majority of Democrats — 56 percent — approve of the president’s performance on the deficit issue, 37 percent disapprove and 8 percent are unsure, the poll shows. True to party lines, most Republicans — 89 percent — disapprove of the president’s fiscal management while only 7 percent approve. Four percent of Republicans are unsure.

Among independent voters nationally, 65 percent disapprove of how the president is dealing with the budget deficit, and 26 percent approve. Nine percent of independents are unsure.

Despite the grim numbers, many voters still don’t blame Mr. Obama for the nation’s current economic condition, as 61 percent report the president inherited the situation while 31 percent say it was the result of his own policies. Nine percent are unsure.

The president on Monday met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, in an attempt to kick-start debt talks that broke down last week between Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and a bipartisan congressional delegation.

All sides of the debate stress a need to increase the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling — the legal limit of money the federal government can borrow to pay for its operations and debt obligations — before the Treasury Department’s Aug. 2 deadline.

Exceeding the limit could lead to a U.S. default on its loans, a scenario that would damage the nation’s credit rating and could trigger another financial crisis.

The McClatchy-Marist poll of 1,003 adults was conducted from June 15 through Thursday.

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