A new Gallup poll shows that the number of people who have a favorable impression of Barack Obama has fallen to its lowest point since he became president. Fifty-six percent say they have a favorable impression of Obama, versus 40 percent who say they have an unfavorable impression. (Four percent say they have no opinion.) Historically, a president's personal favorable rating has often been higher than his job approval rating; right now, Gallup has Obama's job approval at 52 percent.
In January, just before Obama took office, 78 percent of those surveyed by Gallup had a favorable impression of him, with just 18 percent having an unfavorable impression. By March, the favorable number had fallen to 69 percent, where it would stay virtually unchanged for four months: 67 percent in May, and 66 percent in July. Now, it has tumbled ten points to 56 percent.
Obama's favorable rating has fallen most markedly among Republicans: In January, 60 percent said they had a favorable impression of him, versus just 19 percent today. More ominous for the president's political prospects is the fact that he is also down significantly among independents, from 75 percent in January to 52 percent today. Among Democrats, Obama has slipped a little but is still extremely strong, going from 95 percent in January to 89 percent today.
Gallup points out that in this latest survey, Hillary Clinton is now more popular than Obama. Sixty-two percent say they have a favorable impression of the Secretary of State, versus 34 percent who have an unfavorable impression. That's a big change from the height of the battle for the Democratic nomination last year; in February 2008, just 48 percent had a favorable impression of Mrs. Clinton, versus 49 percent who had an unfavorable impression.