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Oh, no! Obama job approval starts down again: Gallup

March 9, 2011 |  5:24 am

Obama Walks to the plane to a 3-8-11 Boston fundraiser, school visit

No White House ever pays any attention to public opinion polls because that could imply the president shapes his actions to be approved, which would be a preposterous thing to believe.

But if Barack Obama did pay attention to his polls numbers, which of course he doesn't for the aforementioned reason, he'd have to be a little disappointed this morning. Or at least somewhat puzzled. Now that we're less than 20 months from the 2012 E-Day.

Obama's job approval numbers are down again, even without a viable announced Republican opponent. Even with the unemployment rate down a smidge to 8.9% (it was 6.9% when Obama was elected). Even with 192,000 jobs created last month. Even with Joe Biden out of the country.

According to the latest Gallup numbers, Obama's weekly job approval number was 46% through Sunday.

That's the lowest it's been since mid-December, when Republican "hostage-takers" forced the Democrat to accept an extension of the Bush  a confident Obama awaits an entrance cue, filetax cuts that Obama now sees as a positive sign of bipartisan cooperation, not to mention job growth.

The current approval is even lower than the 47% Obama had after his murky State of the Union address that atypically provided no noticeable poll bounce.

He had been up at the 50% level into January, his first time up there since May. But then slid again to hover around 48% until the newest decline.

If the White House watched these figures, which as we said it doesn't, it might be distressed that the latest decline came among fellow Democrats, who still like the ex-state senator a lot but less of a lot than they used to:

79% of Democrats approve of Obama's job now. However, that's down from 84% in late January. His approval among independents dipped from 47% to 43%.

The Democrat's approval among Republicans, which couldn't conceivably get any worse, did anyway: Down another notch from 15% to 14%.

There's still plenty of time for a miraculous Obama recovery. An incumbent president's reelection chances are usually tied closely to voters' economic perceptions, centering on unemployment and gas prices. A separate Gallup survey finds Americans' economic optimism dipping again in recent weeks, at the same time that gas prices began increasing significantly. 

The good news for the Obama White House is that the 2010 approval averages show he remains wildly popular in the District of Columbia (84.4% approval) and in his home state of Hawaii (65.9%). That's seven of the 270 electoral votes he needs to keep living in the White House with his mother-in-law.

The bad news is that last year Obama's job approval went down in all 50 states.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: Mark Wilson / Getty Images (Obama walks toward plane to a Boston fundraiser and school, March 8, 2011); Pete Souza / White House.

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