Days before President Obama’s State of the Union speech, the Fox News poll asked voters to assess whether the White House had “mostly succeeded” or “mostly failed” at handling national priorities. The results are clear, as voters consistently say the administration has mostly failed. 

The poll, released Friday, shows the worst rating is on ISIS:  65 percent think the administration has mostly failed on dealing with the Islamic extremist group, while 23 percent say it has mostly succeeded. 

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In addition, 58 percent of voters feel the White House has mostly failed to make the country safer (34 percent say succeeded).  That’s a significant change from how voters felt the first time Fox News asked in June 2012.  At that time, 55 percent said mostly succeeded and 32 percent said mostly failed.  This is the only area that shows such a shift since 2012. 

To be sure, there are extreme partisan divides in the assessments, with more than 8 in 10 Republicans responding negatively on each issue area tested and Democrats being mostly supportive.  However, more than half of independents say Obama has mostly failed in each instance. 

On other issues, views are only slightly less negative.  Overall, 26 percent of voters say the administration has mostly succeeded on handling illegal immigration, while 62 percent feel the opposite.

And despite Obama’s signature health care law, by a 53-41 percent margin, voters say the administration has mostly failed on improving health care. 

Voters also aren’t impressed with how Obama has done on keeping his “most transparent administration ever” promise:  59 percent feel he’s “mostly failed” on running a transparent administration.

Thirty-four percent think the White House has mostly succeeded on improving the country’s image, while 60 percent say mostly failed.

Thirty-one percent say Obama has improved race relations, while 59 percent think he’s mostly failed on this too. 

Some of the best ratings are on the economy.  Yet even there, 40 percent say Obama has mostly succeeded in improving things compared with 51 percent mostly failed.

Meanwhile, the number who feels optimistic about the economy has dropped to 49 percent, down from 58 percent a year ago.  And most voters, 76 percent, continue to rate economic conditions negatively (43 percent “only fair” and 33 percent “poor”).

Only 28 percent would describe the country as “strong and confident” right now (71 percent disagree).

Currently, 42 of voters approve of the job Obama is doing as president, while 53 percent disapprove.  A year ago it was 42-52 percent.  His highest job rating came in the weeks after his first inauguration: 65 percent approved and just 16 percent disapproved (January 2009).  Obama’s record low was 38 percent approval in September 2014. 

 

Pollpourri

President Obama took new executive action on guns this week.  The poll asked voters how concerned they were, in general, about Obama’s use of executive orders “permanently” altering the country’s system of checks and balances:  65 percent are at least somewhat concerned.  Republicans (88 percent) are more likely than independents (66 percent) and Democrats (43 percent) to express concern. 

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cellphone interviews with 1,006 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from January 4-7, 2016.  The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.