Pew Poll: Obama's Ratings Still High Despite Policy Concerns

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A solid majority of Americans (61%) continue to approve of Barack Obama’s job performance, although they express mixed views of several of his policies. An important positive sign for Obama is the public’s continued optimism that his policies will improve the economy – fully 65% express this view. A smaller majority (55%) is optimistic Obama will reduce the budget deficit over the long-term. Nonetheless, Obama’s job approval on the economy has declined from 60% in April to 52% currently.

The slippage in the president’s economic ratings appears unrelated to the public’s assessments of his administration’s impact on current economic conditions – most (53%) say his policies have “not had an effect so far” or that it is too early to tell. Instead, it may have more to do with his relatively poor ratings for handling the problems of troubled automakers General Motors and Chrysler.

Nearly as many disapprove (44%) as approve (47%) of Obama’s performance in handling the automakers’ problems. There is even less support for government efforts to keep G.M. and Chrysler in business: 58% disapprove of the government spending billions to keep the troubled automakers in business, while just 36% approve.

The new survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted June 10-14 among 1,502 adults, finds:

Obama receives solid ratings on foreign policy: Majorities say he strikes the right balance in dealings with U.S. allies and the Middle East, and most reject the notion that his terrorism policies have made the country less safe than during Bush’s presidency.

Public attitudes toward health care show some similarities – but also clear differences – with opinions in 1993. A large majority (75%) favors changing the health care system so that all Americans are covered for medically necessary care; that is down somewhat from 1993 (83%). Substantially fewer say the health care system should be completely rebuilt than did so then.

Half of Americans (50%) support Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation to the Supreme Court while 25% are opposed. Opinion was similar regarding John Roberts’ confirmation to the Court in 2005.

Both Barack and Michelle Obama remain overwhelmingly popular. Currently, 72% have a favorable view of the president while 76% -- including 59% of Republicans -- have a favorable impression of the first lady.

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