Poll: Obama loses large lead over GOP on key issues

By CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser

Dec. 17, 2013

Washington (CNN) – Talk about a turnaround.

According to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, 45% of Americans say they trust Republicans to do a better job handling the economy, with 41% saying they have more trust in President Barack Obama.

It was a different story last December, when the President fresh off re-election had a 54%-36% advantage on the same question. That’s a 22 percentage point swing over the past year.

The survey also indicates that Obama’s 58%-32% advantage over the GOP last December on protecting the middle class has shrunk to a 46%-40% edge now.

And the President’s 50%-35% advantage over Congressional Republicans a year ago on doing a better job coping with the main problems the nation faces has disappeared, with the public now split at 41%.

According to the poll, Obama’s lost ground on these measures with women, liberals and younger Americans, all key supporters.

Overall, Obama has a 43% approval rating in the new poll, with 55% giving him a thumbs down on how he’s performing in the White House.

The President stood at 54%-42% approval/disapproval last December, a month after his 2012 re-election victory.

The ABC News/Washington Post poll’s presidential approval rating is in the same ballpark as just about all the other recent non-partisan, live operator national surveys, which put Obama in the low 40’s to upper 30’s.

The President’s approval ratings started declining in most national surveys starting in June, as Obama dealt with one controversy after another.

There were leaks about National Security Agency surveillance as well as revelations about IRS targeting of conservative groups. This all was followed by the disastrous rollout of Obamacare and controversy over Obama’s promises that Americans could keep their current insurance coverage under the new health law if they chose. Many cannot.

Majority support budget deal

The survey indicates that half the public approves of the budget agreement that overwhelming passed the House last week and Tuesday easily cleared procedural hurdles in the Senate.

According to the survey, 35% give the deal, struck by Republican House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan and his Democratic Senate counterpart Patty Murray, a thumbs down.

The poll indicates a partisan divide – with 61% of Democrats and 52% of Independents, but only 39% of Republicans, supporting the deal. The agreement would set spending levels, reduce the deficit, relieve some of the forced spending cuts known as sequestration, and would prevent another government shutdown in January, when current funding runs out.

The ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted December 12-15, with 1,005 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey’s overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

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