Opinion

Poll watch: Hispanics help drive President Obama's approval rating to a fresh low

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Barack Obama,Iraq,Polls,Foreign Policy,Wall Street Journal,Bowe Bergdahl,Scandals,Hispanics,Becket Adams

President Obama's approval rating has slipped to a fresh low of 41 percent amid a myriad of scandals involving mismanagement and alleged corruption at multiple federal agencies and a significant loss of support among Hispanics, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.

The recent decline is notable in that it has been rather sudden, consisting of several sharp dips occurring just after the start of this year. Also notable: The president has lost a considerable amount of support from the Hispanic community, his approval rating plummeting to 44 percent, down from its previous posting of 67 percent in January 2013. The decline comes at a time when the border between the U.S. and Mexico has been overrun with thousands of abandoned immigrant children and teenagers.

"It all comes back to one word: leadership," Democratic pollster Peter Hart told the Journal. "He may be winning the issues debate, but he's losing the political debate because they don't see him as a leader."

Although the president's approval rating of just 41 percent matches a previous low, a more notable takeaway from the new poll is that survey respondents say the Obama White House is currently less competent than President George W. Bush's administration was at around this time in 2006, after reversals in Iraq and Hurricane Katrina.

"The cumulative impact of these are bending and bowing the presidency in a way that historically has meant a difficult election" Republican pollster Bill McInturff told the Journal. "It's going to be a very good Republican year."

The survey, which was conducted between June 11-15, comes on the heels of a recent Bloomberg News poll that shows the president's approval rating has slipped to 44 percent.

President Obama's handling of foreign policy issues has left Americans unimpressed, with only 37 percent of survey respondents in the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll saying they approve of his performance in this area.

The White House's sudden and unannounced decision to trade five top-ranking Taliban prisoners for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who may have deserted his post in 2009, and the president's seeming disinterest in the escalating violence in Iraq have contributed to his poor foreign policy marks.

Further, an impressive 54 percent of respondents say they don’t believe Obama is "able to the lead the country and get the job done," while only 42 percent voice confidence in the president.

The Wall Street Journal poll surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults aged 18 and older and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. Respondents were chosen in a way that is proportionate to the nation’s population. Respondents were also chosen through a systemic procedure to ensure a balance between male and female responses.

If it's any consolation for the president, only 14 percent of the respondents say they think he is responsible for the scandal involving the Department of Veterans Affairs. Another two-thirds of respondents also say they support his new efforts to have the EPA force energy plants to cut carbon emissions.

So at least he has that going for him, which is nice.

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