Signaling a growing ethnic political divide, President Barack Obama's support among whites has fallen to a record low.

Just 39 percent of non-Hispanic whites approve of Obama's performance as president -- a steady decline from 61 percent in February of this year, a new Gallup poll finds.

The president's support among nonwhites remains strong at 73 percent, down marginally from 80 percent in his month of inauguration.

Obama's approval rating fell below 50 percent last week for the first time in his presidency, to 49 points -- perhaps as much a product of the weak economy as a referendum on the president.

The first African-American president's numbers have been excellent among blacks, averaging 93 points this year while never sinking below 90, according to Gallup.

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"Since the beginning of his presidency, his support has dropped 22 points among whites, compared with a 7-point loss among nonwhites," Gallup noted.