Pres. Obama election fails to deliver hopePresident Obama sailed into the White House on the wings of hope, but now a majority of Americans say they're doing worse now than before he arrived two years ago, according to Bloomberg National Poll results released Thursday.

According to the survey, 51% of respondents say their life has taken a turn for the worse (like Californian Michelle Litoff, pictured at right), versus the 35% who say things have improved. Those results dovetail into into the overall decline Obama has seen in his approval rating since he took office, which, according to the Daily Gallup poll, has fallen to the mid-40% range.

Even within the Democratic Party, half of survey respondents say they their situation has declined, which doesn't bode well for the Democratic president. Slightly more than 50% of Independents say they're worse off with Obama, and 60% of Republicans do, too, according to the Bloomberg poll.

Obama approval ratingGenerating dissatisfaction among the masses is unemployment. For folks like Sara Cohn (pictured at left), a 50-year-old who lives in Berkeley, Calif., her job is a big worry. She's already feeling the demands of more work at her company, following previous layoffs there.

"I still have a job, and I think Obama is doing a good job considering what he was handed under the Bush administration, but my situation is probably a little worse," Cohn says. "It just seems there's more demands at work because of the layoffs."

In November, the unemployment rate hit 9.8% -- a seven-month high. And then there's Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's recent forecast that it could take another four to five years to get to a more normal unemployment rate of 5% to 6%.

Layoffs have also taken a toll on Michelle Litoff, a hairstylist who works at Today's Rave in Berkeley, Calif. Despite previous recessions, the 17-year-old business hasn't seen it this bad, and her financial outlook has worsened since Obama took office.

"People are losing their jobs and not coming in as frequently to get their hair cut or colored," says Litolff, a 43-year-old El Cerrito, Calif., resident. "They're taking longer to make appointments or wearing their hair in a ponytail."

Approximately 25% of Litoff's clients have extended the time between salon visits, and roughly another 5% have stopped coming to her shop altogether, she notes.

"I like Obama, but I think his hands are full. He inherited this mess," Litoff says. "The economy isn't much better now, and for a single mom with three kids it's been tough."

One group in Obama's camp is under-35-year-old voters, the majority of whom feel their situation has improved since he took office. This constituency, which played a big role in Obama's election, is at an age where typically they're entering the workforce and launching their careers. In other words, there's no where to go but up.

Pres. Obama approval ratingBut even some retirees are sanguine. For instance, like Mike Bigbee (pictured at right), a 59-year-old former truck driver from Richmond, Calif., says his situation has improved slightly since Obama's election. Bigbee has four grown children, and his financial standing depends on that of his children.

"If they do well, I do well since they won't have to count on me," Bigbee says. He adds that he's just now recovering from a financial downturn, but he doesn't blame Obama for it. He, too, assigns the country's economic woes to Bush.

"This is from the Bush administration, and it's trickled down," Bigbee says.

Nonetheless, the majority of survey respondents feel their situation has declined since Obama has taken office. And it comes as no surprise that they feel the country is moving in the wrong direction.

According to the Bloomberg poll, 66% felt that was the case, up from 62% in an October Bloomberg poll. Results like these, however, don't necessarily sink Obama's chances for reelection.

Since the midterm elections, his approval rating has remained steady, despite his party losing the House majority and giving up Senate seats, according to the Gallup Daily poll. The Gallup folks note that most presidents whose parties took a beating in midterm elections often posted a decline in approval ratings after the elections through the end of the year. For example, Bill Clinton's job approval rating dropped four points in 1994 after the midterms, but he still won reelection two years later.

Obama watchers may want to keep a closer eye on his approval rating come June 2012. According to Gallup, the approval rating in the June before an election serves as a good indicator of things to come. But even George W. Bush, who had a 48% approval rating in June 2004, managed to win reelection despite falling out of favor with more than half of Americans. His performance was dismal compared to the previous five presidents before him, who managed to muster approval ratings of more than 50% when reelected.

If Obama can maintain his standing near 50% for the next two years, that could very well be enough to land him another four-year gig in the White House.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Understanding Credit Scores

Credit scores matter -- learn how to improve your score.

View Course »

Goal Setting

Want to succeed? Then you need goals!

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:

I am really tired of everyone saying the Democrats and Obama were handed this mess? They have had control since 2006 and our deficit has been on an upward spiral since. Obama's administration has increased Government spending by more than 84% over the last 2 years and now he says he is going to focus on jobs. The health care bill is a lead weight on the economy, but we had to have it. Our arms treaty had to be rushed through and as the Moscow paper reported to their people the other day said this treaty stops the US from expanding their arms, but does nothing to stop Russia from improving theirs? Interesting!

January 07 2011 at 1:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Give me a break. Where did we get this dismal state of affairs? It has been overwhelming & some have the audicity to expect a miracle in two years. Wake up folks. Don't underestimate the intelligience of Obama or the Democratic Party & Nancy Pelosi. You just may be in for a big surprise. Democrats have a huge fight on their hands but with the help of those who gave us the majority in 2009 & the help of those 19 disappointers, we may just prevail. Myself & others will be workig hard in that direction. I hope the young who helped to get us in will be with us again in 2012, I am of the Social Security group against Privatization & we do not give up easily. We wish you well President Obama. Come out with some gloves on. Don't be nice. It won't help. Believe it.

January 06 2011 at 1:29 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

I think the president is doing the best job he can under the present circumstances that we find ourselves in. One thing I know is that he has compassion for the american people.

December 17 2010 at 9:56 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

I don't think so... History tells the story -- after a Panic or even the Great Depression it's a dem/repub/then a dem/then a rep again. It flip flops -- Pres O should have told the banks you made this mess guys, guess what, we bailed you out of the mess and the S&L too big to fail fiasco so guess what now you are going to sink. Took that money and started with jobs, cripes he could have started with IT -- and upgraded the whole government system/network. Just for starters. With all that's wrong, or that could use correcting or even a shot in the arm (for example small business start ups) here we all sit in this crappy economy with gas going to $4.00/gal. Now that's really going to help the recovery. Why isn't Eric Holder putting that cupcake down and looking into why we the US citizens are being price gouged again. Nope he and his democratic crew are done, NOv proved that. And if the Repub's flub up -- well the Independents will sweep thru.

December 10 2010 at 9:58 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jkennedy806's comment

If you remember when Obama was campaigning he said he would not mind gas hitting $5.00 a gallon!

January 07 2011 at 1:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Everyone quoted in this article is from CALIFORNIA. This is supposed to be indicative of the actual mood of the "real" country? I don't think so! The country should dynamite the San Andreas fault and let these irresponsible nutjobs (who you may remember elected a dead person to Congress) float endlessly in the Pacific Ocean. And be sure to take Pelosi, Brown, Boxer with them.

December 10 2010 at 9:56 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Isn't it amazing that most of the people (idiots) that support Socialism would be the first sent to the Gulag. Liberals, Jews, Gays etc. Does George Soros actually think that he would survive in a socialist society? If you haven't been to war, you have idea what the other side is all about.

December 10 2010 at 8:26 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

The Bush years were like walking through a mine field - always looking for when the next one would blow up. And, those things kept coming right up to October 2008 with the financial crash. I know some are just getting hit, but many of us were older and started getting hit with the massive downsizing in the early part of that adminstration. I went from worry of being homeless to owning a home and it turned out to be enough of a savings I don't have to worry about putting food on the table; so, although i still suffer the effect of the Bush administration I definiely am doing better under the Obama adminstration.

December 09 2010 at 11:56 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply


December 09 2010 at 8:43 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to traviscapt2001's comment

So it would have also been accurate to argue that hardship experienced in 2007 (for example) was the result of leadership 10 years earlier in the late 90's? Or could it be that the particpants in this poll simply aren't as gullible as are you?

December 09 2010 at 11:45 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Dare I say it again?.....Socialism! We need it urgently! We need government to intervene and restate....40 hr week, 8hr day, and if you can't produce enough in your factory, hire more people! Make it the law of the land! And if you close and relocate overseas, you'll be subjected to a 25% surtax on all your goods currently sold in America. This will be to reemburse us for all of the unemployed related to your move! If you think this is wealth redistribution, it is, but it's no more than you've been doing for the past 10 years!

December 09 2010 at 8:32 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to boowah's comment

Maybe while we're at it, we could outlaw incentives too?

December 09 2010 at 8:53 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply


December 09 2010 at 7:03 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to davblue1818's comment

Reagan, Grinrich, etc., let go of the "has beens" who have had their day in office.Let's here from some new blood. Further, if you didn't have the government you would have dictatorship. I'll agree with smaller government. More important is a better tax code. Some of the people we voted into office have become rich & gracefully helping the rich that paid for them getting in. Seriously, think of all that is going on in this new House majority & if they are being honest vote for them I just might.

January 06 2011 at 1:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply