WASHINGTON — The number of Americans who approve of President Barack Obama’s handling of the sour US economy has slumped to an all-time low for him of 26 percent, according to a poll released Wednesday.
The respected Gallup organization’s findings showed the embattled president down 11 points since mid-May on an issue sure to define his quest for a fresh term in the November 2012 elections.
Obama also won low approval ratings for his handling of the runaway US federal budget deficit, at 24 percent, while just 29 percent approved of his record on job creation at a time of unemployment over nine percent.
Obama got better grades on foreign policy issues, with 53 percent approval for his handling of terrorism, 42 percent for his handling of foreign affairs in general, and 38 percent for his handling of the war in Afghanistan.
The president’s overall job approval rating stood at 41 percent — below the 50-percent bar thought to signal relative safety for incumbent politicians.
The survey, which had an error margin of plus or minus four percentage points, found that Obama’s rating on Afghanistan had plummeted 15 points since mid-May, when it surged to 53 percent following the raid in which US commandos killed Al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin laden.
Gallup said the slip “may partly reflect public reaction” to the subsequent downing of a US military helicopter in which 30 US troops were killed.
The loss of the Chinook during an anti-Taliban operation southwest of Kabul dealt a blow to elite US special forces, which had 25 members on board — 22 US Navy SEAL commandos and three Air Force Special Operations Forces.
Five US Army personnel, seven Afghan commandos and an interpreter also died.