Obama’s Approval Hits All-Time Low Among Poor, Says Gallup

By Terence P. Jeffrey | August 4, 2011 | 1:53pm EDT

President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks at the Aragon Ballroom, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2011, in Chicago, in Chicago, at a fundraiser on the eve of his 50th birthday. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(CNSNews.com) - A week that began with President Barack Obama going on national television to pitch his vision for a debt-limit deal in terms that pitted “millionaires and billionaires” against “everyone else,” ended with the president receiving his lowest-ever weekly approval ratings in the Gallup poll from the poorest Americans (those earning less than $2,000 per month) and from one segment of the middle class (those earning between $5,000 and $7,499 per month).

In fact, according to Gallup, Obama enjoys no more approval among the poorest Americans today than he does among the richest—and he enjoys significantly less approval among middle class Americans earning between $5,000 to $7,499 than he does among the richest Americans as measure by the income brackets reported by Gallup (those earning $7,500 per month or more).

Over the last seven weeks, Obama’s approval rating has dropped 11 percentage points among the poorest Americans—and 14 points among middle-class Americans earning between $5,000 and $7,499.

Among the poorest Americans, the president’s approval started at 54 percent in the week of June 13-19 and dropped to a record low of 43 percent last week (July 25-July 31). Over the same period, Obama's approval dropped from 52 percent to a record low of 38 percent among those middle-class Americans earning between $5,000 and $7,499 per month.

Seven weeks ago, according to Gallup, Obama was doing far better among the poorest Americans and those earning $5,000 to $7,499 per month than he was doing among the wealthiest (those earning more than $7,500), who in the week of June 13-19 gave Obama a 44-percent approval rating.

Last week, the record-low 43 percent approval Obama earned among the poorest Americans tied the 43 percent approval he earned among the wealthiest Americans. Meanwhile, Obama's record low 38 percent approval last week among those earning between $5,000 to $7,499 per month was five points lower than his approval among the richest Americans.  

In one way at least, Obama has leveled the playing field: The poor are now no more likely to approve of the job he is doing than the rich.

Ironically, when he addressed the nation on television on July 25, Obama indicated he wanted to use a legislative deal to increase the debt limit as the means for doing some economic leveling.   

“What we’re talking about under a balanced approach is asking Americans whose incomes have gone up the most over the last decade--millionaires and billionaires--to share in the sacrifice everyone else has to make,” said Obama.

“Most Americans, regardless of political party, don’t understand how we can ask a senior citizen to pay more for her Medicare before we ask a corporate jet owner or the oil companies to give up tax breaks that other companies don’t get,” said Obama. “How can we ask a student to pay more for college before we ask hedge fund managers to stop paying taxes at a lower rate than their secretaries?  How can we slash funding for education and clean energy before we ask people like me to give up tax breaks we don’t need and didn’t ask for?”

Each week, Gallup publishes the president’s approval rating among Americans in five income brackets—those earning less than $2,000 per month, those earning between $2,000 and $4,999 per month, those earning between $5,000 and $7,499 per month, and those earning $7,500 or more per month. The approval rating is based on Gallup surveys conducted in the previous week—in this case the week of July 25-July 31.

In that week, according to Gallup, 43 percent in the lowest income bracket said they approved of the job Obama was doing as president, 45 percent in the lower middle bracket said they approved, 38 percent in the upper middle bracket said they approved and 43 percent in the upper bracket said they approved.

Prior to last week, Obama’s approval among the poorest Americans—those earning less than $2,000 per month—had never dropped below 45 percent, a level it had hit in the weeks of July 18-24 and June 20-26.  Also prior to last week, Obama’s approval rating among those earning between $5,000 and $7,499 had not dropped below 39 percent, the level it had hit in the week of July 11-17.

Obama’s approval among Americans earning less than $2,000 per month peaked at 76 percent early in his presidency--in the weeks of April 2-26, 2009 and May 4-10, 2009.

His approval among middle class Americans earning between $5,000 and $7,499 peaked at 69 percent in the week of Jan. 19-25, 2009, the week he was inaugurated.

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