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With Obama in Brazil and Biden fundraising, U.S. voters give them record low approval on the economy

the Obamas visit the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio 3-20-11

A new national poll finds American voters give President Obama a record low approval for his handling of the U.S. economy.

With barely 19 months left until the next presidential election, fewer than 1 in 3 American voters approve of the Obama administration's economic job.

Strange too because, even during the president's relentless drive to pass his massive healthcare legislation, the Democrat said the economy and creating jobs was his top priority. So important is the economy that Obama appointed Vice President Joe Biden to drive the stimulating $787-billion spending plans that were to keep unemployment below 8%, instead of around 9% and 10%.

Fourteen months ago when angry Massachusetts voters elected their first ....

... Republican senator in four decades, Obama said the economy and jobs were then at the top of his agenda. And last spring and summer, while campaigning for more than 100 Democratic House candidates, Biden often vowed that any day now the economy would be creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs every month.

In November, when midterm voters ordered a historic party shift in the House and delivered what Obama called a "shellacking" to him and his Democratic Party, the president said jobs were Job One. And that was also a major reason he gave for caving to Republican demands in December to extend those dad-burned Bush tax cuts, to help stimulate the economy.president Obama shares a champagne toast with Brazil president Dilma Rousseff 3-19-11

For some reason, the huge Democratic majorities in Congress last year didn't get around to passing a federal budget for the fiscal year now almost half over.

So now the new GOP House majority can throw its fiscally conservative weight around, demanding $2 billion in spending cuts per week in return for extending federal spending authority.

Obama's been busy with a series of White House parties, talking up education spending and denouncing schoolyard bullying. So, he assigned Biden to head bipartisan budget negotiations.

But wouldn't you know, the VP, his wife and granddaughter had to go to Finland, Russia and Moldova just then.

So those talks came down to the wire last week before a three-week extension passed. Obama managed to sign it before heading off to South America with his family for this week and ordering U.S. military action against Libya.

After visiting Rio's famous Christ the Redeemer statue site Sunday night, the Obamas fly over to Chile this morning for meetings, a speech, of course, parties and another official dinner banquet.

Biden obviously can't do anything on the budget talks today because he's due to visit a high school near his Delaware home to salute an administration program.

And then this afternoon Biden has to speak at another Democratic Party fundraiser up in Boston.

So, it's anybody's guess why only 31% of Americans approve of the pair's focus on the economy, according to the new national poll.

That's down 3 points, or 10%, in just one week and the lowest approval since Obama's early 2009 inauguration.

Inexplicably, a whopping 45% now say Obama's doing a poor job on the economy. Older voters, who also happen to be the most reliable voteObama in Brazil acknowledges fans after a speech 3-20-11rs, are the most critical of the Democrat.

In other economic surveys:

The economy is by far Americans' top concern, Gallup reports this morning, with nearly 3 of 4 worrying "a great deal" about it. The second concern (nearly 2 of 3) is the federal deficit and spending, or as Obama calls it "investing."

Less than 45% of homeowners expect their largest personal investment to increase in value during the next 60 months.

Nearly half of all voters believe America's best days are behind it, the most pessimism since last July.

Only 1 of 3  American workers expect to earn more money next year, the lowest level in about two years.

Only 22% of likely voters think the country is on the right track, the lowest level since before Obama's inauguration. Conversely, more than 7 in 10 voters say the country is on the wrong track, the highest level since those final few failed days of George W. Bush's two terms.

Although majorities in all three countries on Obama's itinerary still approve of him, Gallup finds the approval ratings have dipped there too, in some cases significantly.

In Brazil, Obama's approval is 55%, down 6 points. In Chile, it's 67%, down 5 points. In his final stop, El Salvador, 61% approve of the American president, down 23 points.


In Brazil, Obama orders attack on Libya: 'Actions have consequences'

In Rio, Obama marks Iran's Nowruz holiday again

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press (Obama family visits Rio's famous Christ the Redeemer statue Sunday night); Roberto Stucker Filho / EPA (Obama shares a champagne toast with Brazil's president Dilma Rousseff); Victor R. Caivano / Associated Press (Obama acknowledges fans after a Rio speech).

Comments () | Archives (19)

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The first new rule says you HAVE to have insurance. Both my husband and I have pre-existing conditions, and although the new bill says we can't be denied coverage because of it. So far, the cheapest health insurance we've been able to find is called "Wise Medical Insurance" search for it online if you are pre-existing conditions.

What was it in Obama's resume that would make you think he would be the right person for the tremendous challenges facing our country?.... was it outstanding results as a successful businessman? his sterling accomplishments as a scientist? his record as a leader in combat? His string of legislative accomplishments in the Illinois Senate then the US Senate? Our country has never had such a mismatch between the challenges facing it and the chief executive tasked with meeting these challenges. We elected an empty suit in 2008 and we'll be paying for this the rest of my lifetime... never again will I let emotions influence my vote for people/issues. This country needs to find a better way of finding qualified people from both parties to run for elected office.... the ones we have been stuck with the last several years have been sub-par.


This is your clear roadmap Obama! Follow it and you have a slim chance in 2012.
Don't follow it .. your administration is doomed!~

PS Trash the windmills and solar panels....they are pure BOGUS...and everyone knows it!!

The people are more engaged than ever, and we have little confidence in Obama because his leadership ability continues to mimic his voting "present."

Yes.......let us have a beer summit....

I'm off to Brazil to give them millions I promised back in 2009..........yea, you know.......the oil company there ........the one where George Soros is the LARGEST stock holder..........remember now???
No, we can't drill in see we NEED other countries to supply our oil........they need our help.

What is it going to take to have the voters of this country see Obama as he really is? Either just plain dumb or on a mission to destroy us.

Mr. Obama's lack of leadership and far left agenda is being seen by everyone but his fellow travels (Progressives) and the Obamabot whobelieve because of his skin color he can do no wrong. A great man Dr. King dreamed of his children being judged by their character and not their skin. That dream is dead except for what the Obamabot and progressive can use for propaganda.

Hey ED. Why the picture with the savior backdrop, run out of halo pics?

Why all the negativity about our beloved president? Afterall, he has a 61% approval rating in El Salvador! Too bad he isn't president of El Salvador. Then everything would be just peachy. Now that's some change that I can believe in!

In a related story, 1 in 3 Americans are total economic illiterates.

Why does the Times publish this hack?

Approval on the economy is more than meets the eye. If you hire a guy to cut your grass, give him a lawn mower and the gas to go with it and one month later the grass is still not cut. You need a new grass man. The same goes for bankers, manufactures, sales people etc. Obama did the same for the bankers and manufactures etc. as he did for the grass man. These are the same tactics business are using that labor unions use and they want labor unions bargaining rights outlawed. Here is a case where a Federal Mediator needs to step into this Billionaire strike and give them 60 day to reeve up production and start hiring or pay fines for intentionally trying to bring down our American Economy.
I think we need some new Legislation to make this happen. The honor system in America doesn't work anymore. Everything will soon need Legislation, and then they will bitch about that.

Frankly, I don't believe that less than one-third disapprove of Obama...I suspect it's closer to two-thirds...I would have to see the internals before I would place much credence in your statistics....I honestly don't believe he has a snowball's chance of winning re-election the next time around unless he cheats (as all the ACORN lawsuits attest to), thuggish SEIU involvement and with all the phony, false rhetoric he used the first time...that old adage fool me once, shame on you...fool me twice, shame on me...won't work in 2012 unless of course, you remain a hardened, comatose and brainwashed liberal...

That's OK: Oprah has them covered. Her and the MSM Will cover for Obumma
in practically every situation. Running the government is easy, you get multi vacations, and golf up the Kazoo. Heck, if wasn't for Fox, we wouldn't know where they were most of the time. I wish you luck in your latest endeavor Mr. Kusinich.

I think Obama has given up on governing and has begun campaigning. He loves being president with all the pomp and free stuff but the public may be a little more suspicious of an empty suit next time.

How many JOBS related bills have the Republican controlled House passed on to the Senate since January 2011?

How many JOBS created since SCOTUS 'selected' Bush over Gore in late 2000?

Well Mr John Chambless, I was gainfully employed throughout the Presidency of George W Bush, and so far..... I've been painfully unemployed under President Barack H Obama.

By Obama's 1000th day in office, of all those who voted for him, only the ignorant and the arrogant will not be sorry or ashamed they did.

How many could, with a resume like Obama's be where he is????????????????

If he did not have the "GOODS'???????? How did get him where he is?????????????

You had better do some thinking before the 2012 election.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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