A year after Barack Obama made history as America’ s first black president, US voters are less optimistic about his ability to succeed and no longer favour keeping the Democrats in control of Congress, according to a new poll.
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The trends shown by the new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll point to an increasingly difficult political climate for Obama as he hopes to push his domestic agenda beyond health care and to preserve his party’s majorities in the House and Senate.
The survey results show that Obama’s personal popularity remains high across a large swath of the electorate, but they also chronicle a decline in the high support for his agenda that Democrats enjoyed when he was sworn into office a year ago, the Wall Street Journal said.
Nationally, voters now are evenly split over which party they hope will run Capitol Hill after the November elections-the first time Democrats haven’t had the edge on that question since December 2003.
Moreover, Republicans are far more excited than Democrats to turn out and vote in November: 55 percent of Republican voters said they were “very interested” in the election, compared with 38 percent of Democrats.
The new poll shows, for the first time, a majority of voters disapprove of the job he is doing on health care.
Three-quarters said they liked Obama. But just 22 percent said they were “optimistic and confident” about his presidency-a 10-point decline from a year ago. By comparison, 27 percent were “pessimistic and worried” about his presidency, compared with just 9 percent a year ago, when many hoped he would lead the nation into an economic recovery.
Overall, 48 percent said they approved of the job Obama is doing, while 43 percent disapproved-about the same as last month but down sharply from approval ratings in the 60 percent range in his early months in office.
Perhaps most troubling for Obama and the Democrats is that independents are souring on them. That bloc backed Democrats in 2006 and 2008. Now, by a nearly 2 to 1 margin, independents said they would prefer Republicans to control Congress after November.
Still, distaste for Democrats isn’t translating into more love for the Republicans. Just 30 percent of voters felt positively about the Republican Party, compared with 39 percent for the Democratic Party.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at email@example.com)
–Indo-Asian News Service
By Arun Kumar