President Obama and key members of his administration have spent the past few weeks alternately deflecting and defending criticisms over several controversies. The National Security Agency's surveillance program, the IRS targeting of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status, the Justice Department collecting journalists' phone records, and the attack on the Benghazi consulate that left four Americans dead, all have taken the lion's share of attention away from Obama's legislative priorities.
Now those problems have taken a toll on the president's approval rating. According to a CNN/ORC International survey released today, Obama's approval has dropped eight points to 45 percent, the lowest in more than a year and a half.
"The drop in Obama's support is fueled by a dramatic 17-point decline over the past month among people under 30, who, along with Black Americans, had been the most loyal part of the Obama coalition," said CNN polling director Keating Holland.
According to the survey, 60 percent say they disapprove of Obama's handling of the NSA surveillance program, which is lower than the 56 percent who said the same of President George W. Bush in 2006.
In addition, 49 percent say the president is honest, a drop in nine points over the past month; 57 percent say they disagree with his views on the size and power of the federal government; and 53 percent say he cannot manage the government effectively.
At 52 percent, a majority still believe he's a "strong and decisive leader," but that also is down by six points from last month.
Holland attributed the revelation of the NSA surveillance programs for a large part of the decline, but added that the IRS and other older controversies may be starting to have an impact as well.
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(Photo: REUTERS/Andrew Winning)