Fox News Poll: Obama Job Approval Improves to 46 Percent

Two months before Election Day for congressional races, a new Fox News poll finds that more voters still disapprove than approve of President Obama’s job performance, yet his approval rating is up a couple points from its summer lows.

Currently 46 percent of Americans voters approve of the job President Obama is doing and 48 percent disapprove. Last month it was 43-49 percent. His approval rating had been holding steady at 43 percent for the previous two months.

Based on the president’s performance so far, more voters think the country would be better off with someone else after the next election than think Obama deserves re-election.

Some 38 percent think Obama deserves re-election, while about half of voters -- 49 percent -- disagree. Most Democrats (73 percent) think Obama deserves re-election, while most Republicans feel the opposite (84 percent someone else).

Independents are twice as likely to say the country would be better off with someone else (48 percent) than to say Obama deserves re-election to a second term.

Still, in a hypothetical matchup, by 49-41 percent Obama tops former President George W. Bush when voters are asked who they would prefer as president today.

The Fox News Poll involved telephone interviews with 900 randomly chosen registered voters and was conducted by Opinion Dynamics Corp. from September 1 - September 2. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points for the total sample.

Click here for full poll results (PDF).

As has been the case for some time, Obama’s job rating shows a large partisan divide: 80 percent of Democrats approve, compared to 40 percent of independents and 14 percent of Republicans.

In addition to Democrats, some of Obama’s strongest approval comes from blacks (97 percent), liberals (73 percent), women (51 percent), and young voters under age 30 (50 percent).

The Highs and Lows

Obama’s highest approval ratings came in the first months following his inauguration, when between 65 percent and 58 percent of voters approved of the job he was doing (January - April 2009). That was also when the partisan gap was narrower than at any other time during his presidency. For example, the gap between Obama’s approval among Democrats and Republicans in January 2009 was 48 percentage points, while it is 66 points today.

The president’s lowest rating to date was in July 2010, when 43 percent approved and 50 percent disapproved.

The average job rating for Obama’s term so far is 51 percent approve and 41 percent disapprove.

A Second Term?

Even though more voters think Obama should be a one-term president, they are less certain about who should succeed him.

Few support the idea of Hillary Clinton running for president to replace Obama in 2012. When read a list of possible jobs, the most popular options are for Clinton to either stay in her current job as secretary of state (36 percent) or retire and get out of politics (29 percent). Just 12 percent want her to run for president in 2012, while 11 percent think she should take over for Joe Biden as vice president.