Despite the positive news on job growth, the rising gasoline prices have brought the disapproval ratings of U.S. President Barack Obama in handling the economy to a record high, according to a poll published on Monday.
US President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, March 6, 2012.
The Washington Post-ABC News poll, conducted Wednesday through Saturday, found that 50 percent of Americans strongly disapproved of Obama's handling the economy, a nine-percent jump to a new high in his presidency.
Only 38 percent approved his job on the economy, down by 6 points from last month. It was only three points higher than his lowest approval ratings in last October.
The decline of approval ratings for Obama's performance on the economy, the most important issue in the 2012 presidential campaign, was mainly blamed for the rising gas prices, which have gained 49 cents this year to an average 3.79 U.S. dollars per gallon.
Most Americans expressed their worries about the rising gas prices, with 89 percent are concerned about the issue. The poll found that 65 percent of Americans disapproved of the way Obama is dealing with rising gas prices, compared to only 26 percent who approved.
The rising gas prices have stalled the recent gradual increase of Obama's overall approval ratings, which have benefited from the positive news on the job creation. The latest employment report released last Friday showed a gain of 227,000 jobs in the past month, continuing an upward trend since later last year.
The new poll found that 46 percent of Americans approved of the way Obama is handling his job, compared to 50 percent who disapproved. In February, 50 percent of Americans approved of Obama's job, against 46 who disapproved.
Nevertheless, Obama and his campaign team may take comfort from the fact that, despite his low job approval ratings, 54 percent of Americans expected him to win the reelection, up by eight percent from January and by a sharp 17 percent from last October.