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Summer of Discontent Slams Ratings of Obama, Republicans

The White House/Pete Souza(NEW YORK) -- More than half of Americans now disapprove of President Obama’s job performance, six in 10 rate his work on the economy and job creation negatively, and more than one in three say they’ve become worse off financially under his presidency -- a high in ABC News/Washington Post polls since Ronald Reagan trademarked the question a generation ago.

Those results and others underscore the depths of this summer of economic discontent.  With unemployment stubbornly over 9 percent, 77 percent of Americans say the country is headed seriously off on the wrong track, up 17 points this year to the most since the end of George W. Bush’s presidency.

In a further sign of the deep hazards to Obama, Americans by a 2-1 margin -- 34 percent to 17 percent -- now say his administration’s efforts have done more to harm rather than help the nation’s economy.  The number who say his economic program has improved the economy has plummeted by half since January, and 47 percent say it’s had no effect.

Obama has scheduled a major address on the employment situation Thursday evening before a joint session of Congress.  And he’ll be facing a tough public audience: In this poll, produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates, a record 62 percent disapprove of his work on the economy; as many disapprove of his work on job creation specifically; and by a 50 percent to 45 percent, slightly more describe themselves as pessimistic rather than optimistic about employment in the year ahead.

The intensity of the public’s sentiment on these issues is striking.  Nearly half -- 47 percent -- “strongly” disapprove of Obama’s performance on the economy, while just 15 percent strongly approve -- a record low.  It’s about the same on his handling of job creation and the federal budget deficit.  Overall, 38 percent strongly disapprove of his job performance, matching the record.  Twenty-one percent strongly approve.

Yet there’s company in the president’s misery.  Sixty-eight percent disapprove of the way the Republicans in Congress are doing their jobs, a point from the record high in ABC/Post data since 1994, and 15 points more than Obama’s 53 percent disapproval.  Notably, cutting through partisan predispositions, 33 percent of Americans disapprove of Obama and the Republicans in Congress alike.

Moreover, for all of Obama’s weak ratings, he still runs about evenly with the Republicans in Congress in trust to handle the economy, 42 percent vs. 39 percent; job creation, 40-40 percent; and the federal deficit, 39-42 percent.  Meanwhile record numbers, 16 or 17 percent, volunteer that they trust neither Obama nor the GOP to handle any of these.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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