The percentage of Americans who say the economy is getting worse has risen to the highest level since the early months of President Obama’s presidency, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released on Tuesday.
At the same time, Obama’s approval rating has slipped to the point where a majority of Americans now disapprove of his job performance. But despite Obama’s shaky standing, the president still led every potential Republican rival paired against him in potential head-to-head 2012 matchups, a sign that while he is weak, the GOP field right now is weaker.
In the poll, 44% of respondents said the economy was getting worse, up 10 points since last October. That’s the highest level notched in the Washington Post-ABC News poll since March 2009 when 48% of Americans thought the economy was headed in the wrong direction.
Additionally, only 28% of adults now say the economy is headed in the right direction.
As Americans have grown more pessimistic about the national economy, they’ve also soured on Obama. In the latest poll, a slim 50% majority said they disapproved of his job performance, compared to 47% who approved. That’s a net nine-point reversal from last month, and a 14-point turnaround since January when 54% of Americans approved of Obama’s job performance versus 43% who disapproved.
The latest TPM Poll Average shows that 49.2% of Americans approve of Obama’s job performance, versus 45.9% who disapprove.
While Obama’s standing has slipped in recent months, he still posted comfortable leads of at least four points against a slate of potential 2012 Republican challengers in the Washington Post-ABC News survey.
Mitt Romney gave Obama his toughest challenge, trailing the president 49%-45%. He was the only challenger to hold Obama below the symbolic 50% threshold.
Obama led Mike Huckabee 50%-44%, topped both Tim Pawlenty and Donald Trump 52%-39%, and bested Michele Bachmann 52%-38%. Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin fared worst against Obama, trailing him 54%-39% and 56%-37% respectively.
The Washington Post-ABC News poll was conducted April 14-17 among 1,001 adults nationwide. It has a margin of error of 3.5%.