Obama Approval Rating Dips Below 50%
Americans sour on handling of economy, Afghanistan
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2009 11:40 AM CST
President Barack Obama.   (AP Photo/ Lee Jin-man)

(Newser) – Less than half of Americans polled approve of President Obama’s performance for the first time. A new Quinnipiac survey has his job approval rating at 48%, with 42% disapproving. Other polls have his rating at 53% and 56%, and a Quinnipiac pollster admits the new number “is not statistically different" from his 50% approval rating in October. "Nevertheless,” he tells Politics Daily, “in politics symbols matter.”

The close numbers get more interesting when broken down: 52% disapprove of Obama’s action on the economy, while 43% approve. He’s slipped in his handling of the war in Afghanistan—49% disapprove, versus 40% last month. Though there’s “an almost across the board erosion of support for the war,” the pollster says, “when the focus is on fighting terror, American resolve remains strong”—to wit, 65% said eliminating the terror threat in Afghanistan is a worthwhile goal.