Obama’s Ratings Strike Low Note to End 2013

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A year ago, America was careening toward a fiscal cliff, steered by Congress. President Obama was closing the year with a 54 percent approval rating in a Washington Post/ABC News poll, and half the country trusted him to tackle the problems of the coming years. Fast forward to this year’s December monthly from the Washington Post/ABC News. Obama’s approval/disapproval sits at 43/55 percent. He is tied at 41 percent with Congressional Republicans when it comes to who the country believes is best suited to deal with the important issues in America.

The poll sampled 1,005 adults, 40 percent (402) self-identified as independents. The next highest proportion were Democrats, approximately 301 adults, or 30 percent. Republicans made up 24 percent of respondents, about 241 people. President Obama does remain more popular than Congress. Only 16 percent approve of the way Congress is handling its job, and 81 percent disapprove. To find the last time the majority of Americans approved of Congress requires going back to the April 2003 poll, when 57 percent viewed the legislative branch favorably.

The respondents did not approve of Congress, but Congressional Republicans were given the edge when dealing with the economy. Fort-five percent were wiling to place economic faith in the Republicans, 41 percent in the President. Nearly half (49 percent) of independents chose the Republicans.

The questions tended to, predictably, split along partisan lines. When asked who was best suited to implement the new healthcare law, 42 percent said Obama and 37 percent said the Republicans. On this issue, independents were slightly more willing to support the Republicans over Obama, 40 to 38 percent. The White House publishes “Myths and Facts” about the new healthcare law online in an effort to promote the law’s intended effects. It outlines how, according to the Administration, healthcare costs will be lowered, and quality of healthcare as a whole will be improved.  The latest poll numbers show that the majority of Americans do not believe this will be the case.

According to those surveyed, 47 percent of people think the changes ware making the system worse, and that their personal costs are going to increase as a result. The entire country will see a spike in health care costs, 60 percent said. The respondents also do not believe that HealthCare.gov was an isolated incident for Obamacare; 55 percent think it is the sign of larger problems, and 64 percent do not believe it is working as it should. One day after the self-imposed deadline for having HealthCare.gov up and running, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney stated the President’s position on the fixes.

“The President believes that the site has been significantly improved and that the teams in place have worked 24/7 for weeks now to make those improvements, including significant improvements that were made over the weekend,” Carney said. The Washington Post/ABC poll is the freshest set of data about the dismal year-end for the President. After polls showed his numbers plummeted in late November, the President told Barbara Walters of ABC,  ”the good thing about when you’re down is that usually you got nowhere to go but up.”

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