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Economy: President Obama's incredible shrinking approval rating

August 17, 2011 |  3:53 pm

Gallup-President Obama's economic approval rating

As if President Obama's poll numbers weren't bad enough already, Gallup released more detailed data Wednesday showing that 71% of those surveyed disapprove of his handling of the economy. His 26% approval rating on the economy is down 11 percentage points from May and well below his previous nadir, 35% in November.

Ouch.

Obama has been on tour through the Midwest this week, trying to remind voters how bad an economy he inherited. And it was bad -- the credit crunch in 2008 triggered a deep recession and massive job losses, and the resulting weakness in the financial industry made it that much harder for the economy to bounce bank. 

Even though the downturn wasn't his fault, however, Obama is fully responsible for the efforts to revive the economy. He can (and does) complain about Republicans not supporting his efforts to create jobs -- free-trade agreements haven't been approved, airport construction funds were interrupted, highway funds haven't been renewed. But he's clearly in charge of the recovery, and as the public's pessimism about the economy has grown in recent months, so has its disapproval of Obama's economic strategy.

He's hearing it from both sides, too. Liberals want Obama to push for much more government spending to stimulate the economy; conservatives argue that even the modest steps he's calling for would make matters worse. It's kind of ironic, but the guy who campaigned as the champion of a new, unifying brand of governing is being stymied by the yawning chasm between liberal and conservative economic theories.

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Campaign 2012: Rick Perry picks a fight with Ben Bernanke

-- Jon Healey

Credit: Gallup website

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