Views are mixed on the job President Obama is doing, and for the first time his approval rating has dipped below 80 percent among Democrats, a Fox News poll finds.
In all, 45 percent of voters approve and 46 percent disapprove of the president's job performance. Earlier this month 48 percent approved and 43 percent disapproved. A year ago, 60 percent approved and 30 percent disapproved (12-13 May 2009).
Seventy-nine percent of Democrats approve and 12 percent disapprove. That's a record low approval for Obama among his party faithful.
Republicans remain solidly in the disapprove column, as 84 percent give the president a negative rating and 12 percent approve. More independents disapprove (48 percent) than approve (39 percent) -- and that's been true for about two months.
The poll followed up the presidential job rating question with an open-ended question that allowed voters to say in their own words why they approve or disapprove.
Among those approving of President Obama's performance, 45 percent say it's because he's "doing a good job" overall, followed by 9 percent saying because he "cares about average people." Eight percent say health care, 7 percent the improving economy and 6 percent say they agree with him on the issues. Smaller numbers mention his honesty (4 percent) and liking him personally (4 percent).
The most common reason cited for disapproving of the president is "he is doing a bad job" (21 percent). Other reasons include the deficit and government spending (14 percent), disagreeing with him on the issues (14 percent), the economy (13 percent), and health care (13 percent). The next most often cited reason for disapproving is he is "pushing socialism" (6 percent).
The job rating of Congress, meanwhile, is holding steady: 22 percent approve and 65 percent disapprove. Last month 22 percent of voters approved and 68 percent disapproved.
The national telephone poll was conducted for Fox News by Opinion Dynamics Corp. among 900 registered voters from May 18 to May 19. For the total sample, the poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
By far, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton garners the highest approval rating of administration officials tested. Fifty-nine percent of voters approve and 19 percent disapprove, with the remaining 22 percent unsure. In December, 66 percent approved and 22 percent disapproved.
Here's how the remaining members of the administration are viewed among American voters:
-- By 43 percent to 34 percent more voters approve of the job Vice President Joe Biden is doing, and 23 percent are unsure.
-- For Director of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, 40 percent approve and 31 percent disapprove, with 29 percent unable to say.
-- Thirty-six percent approve and 27 percent disapprove of Eric Holder’s job performance as attorney general. More than a third could not give an opinion (37 percent).
-- Among Democrats, President Obama receives the highest approval rating (79 percent), followed by Clinton (76 percent) and Biden (71 percent). And Napolitano and Holder each have a 53 percent approval.
Among independents, Clinton (56 percent approve) outperforms all others -- including the president (39 percent).