Policy & Politics

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Obama Approval at 63 Percent: Ohioans See Little Easing of Economic Woes

Published May. 8, 2009

Cincinnati, OH--President Barack Obama’s overall approval rating is 63 percent in Ohio. Governor Ted Strickland’s overall approval rating now stands at 56 percent. Most Ohioans continue to see economic conditions in Ohio and the U.S. as either “fair” or “poor.”

These findings are based on the latest Ohio Poll, conducted by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati. The Ohio Poll is sponsored by the University of Cincinnati. The Poll was conducted between April 16 and April 27, 2009.

OBAMA’S BENCHMARK APPROVAL RATING AT 63 PERCENT

The latest Ohio Poll finds President Barack Obama’s approval rating in Ohio at 63 percent. An additional 32 percent disapprove of Obama’s performance as president and four percent neither approve nor disapprove.

This is the first Ohio Poll to measure Barack Obama’s approval rating as president. Obama’s benchmark approval rating among Ohioans is similar to those initially received by former Presidents George W. Bush (60%), Bill Clinton (56%), George H.W. Bush (63%) and Ronald Reagan (61%).

President Obama also receives majority approval in other specific areas:
• Fifty-six percent of Ohio adults approve of Obama’s handling of the economy;
• Sixty-two percent approve of Obama’s handling of foreign affairs overall;
• Sixty-seven percent approve of Obama’s handling of the situation with Iraq; and
• Sixty-nine percent approve of Obama’s handling of the situation with Afghanistan.

Given their ratings of previous presidents, it is perhaps not surprising that Ohio Democrats and Republicans disagree about President Obama’s performance overall. While 89 percent of Democrats approve of the president’s overall performance, just 30 percent of Republicans approve. The highest approval rating Republicans give the president is for his handling of the situation with Afghanistan
(47%).

STRICKLAND’S OVERALL APPROVAL RATING AT 56 PERCENT . . .

The latest Ohio Poll also finds Governor Ted Strickland’s approval rating at 56 percent. An additional 34 percent disapprove of the governor’s performance and 10 percent neither approve nor disapprove.  Strickland’s approval rating is five percentage points lower than in the May 2008 Ohio Poll.

While many Democrats (70%) approve of Strickland’s performance, both Independents and Republicans are divided in their evaluations of the governor. For example, 43 percent of Republicans approve of Strickland’s performance, 44 percent disapprove and 12 percent neither approve nor disapprove.

. . . BUT THE GOVERNOR RECEIVES LOWER RATINGS ON OHIO’S ECONOMY

Ohioans are now more closely divided on Governor Strickland’s handling of Ohio’s economy than was the case in previous Ohio Polls. Forty-eight percent of Ohio adults approve of the way Strickland is handling Ohio’s economy, 45 percent disapprove and six percent neither approve nor disapprove.

Six of 10 Ohio Democrats approve of the governor’s handling of Ohio’s economy. However, majorities of both Republicans (55%) and Independents (54%) disapprove of the governor’s handling of the economy.

OHIOANS OFFER PESSIMISTIC VIEW OF NATIONAL, STATE ECONOMIC CONDITIONS . . .

As in previous Ohio Polls, residents were asked their perception of economic conditions in the United States and in Ohio.  Most Ohioans rate economic conditions in the U.S. as either “fair” (42%) or “poor” (52%).  Most Ohioans also rate economic conditions in Ohio as either “fair” (42%) or “poor” (51%).

When asked if economic conditions in Ohio are “getting better” or “getting worse,” 67 percent see the direction of Ohio’s economy as “getting worse,” while 20 percent say Ohio’s economy is “getting better.”  An additional 11 percent of Ohio adults see Ohio’s economy as “staying about the same.”

While Ohioans overall are pessimistic about the direction of Ohio’s economy, the latest Ohio Poll found some optimism: the percentage who see Ohio’s economy as “getting worse” declined from 79 percent in May 2008, while the percentage who see the economy “getting better” increased from 12 percent.

. . . AND MIXED REACTIONS TO OBAMA’S ECONOMIC PROPOSALS

Ohioans were also asked whether they think President Obama’s economic policies and proposals will make economic conditions in the U.S. and in Ohio better, worse or will have no effect. Fifty percent of Ohioans say President Obama’s economic policies and proposals will make economic conditions in the U.S. “better,” 25 percent say they will make conditions “worse” and 23 percent say they will “have no effect” on economic conditions.  Forty-three percent of Ohioans say President Obama’s economic policies and proposals will make economic conditions in Ohio “better,” 25 percent say they will make conditions “worse” and 30 percent say they will “have no effect.”
While large majorities of Democrats see President Obama’s economic policies making conditions in the U.S. (71%) and Ohio (64%) “better,” just two of 10 Republicans feel similarly about the effect of the president’s policies on the U.S. economy and the Ohio economy.

For more information and to view The Ohio Poll Methodology, click here.



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