52% Disapprove of President Obama's Job Performance, 53% Disapprove of Foreign Policy Handling


Presidential Approval

The latest Reason-Rupe national survey of 1000 adults on landlines and cell phones finds 52 percent of Americans disapprove of President Obama's overall performance while 43 percent approve. Americans are slightly less supportive of the president's handling of foreign policy, 53 percent disapprove and 37 percent say they disapprove.


Despite lackluster public support, President Obama's approval ratings have largely remained steady throughout 2014, which comports with RealClearPolitics poll aggregator of presidential approval. 2013 was a particularly poor year for presidential favorability, with approval going underwater approximately around the summer of 2013 coinciding with the Department of Justice/AP and IRS scandals and Edward Snowden's NSA revelations. However, throughout 2014 favorability ratings have held steady.

Differences in presidential approval emerge across race/ethnic groups, including 35 percent of Caucasians, 84 percent of African-Americans, and 49 percent of Hispanics who approve of the president. On foreign policy handling specifically, 33 percent of Caucasians, 73 percent of African-Americans and 29 percent of Hispanics approve.

Young people continue in their increased support for the president, including 57 percent of 18-34 year olds who approve, compared to 39 percent of 35-54 year olds and 37 percent of those 55+. However, on foreign policy specifically , the age gap largely disappears with only 4 in 10 of all age groups who favor Obama's handling of foreign policy.

Country Direction

Continuing a decade-long trend, the August Reason-Rupe survey finds 60 percent of Americans say the country is heading in the "wrong direction" while only 33 percent say the right direction. It may seem as though Americans have always had bleak expectations. However, for much of the late 1990s and early 2000 majorities of Americans said the country was on the right track. It wasn't until 2003 that the tide turned. For the past decade, excluding a respite following the 2008 presidential election, roughly 6 in 10 Americans have expressed concerns over the country's trajectory.

Congressional approval remains at abysmal levels, with only 18 percent of Americans favorable of the legislative branch's job performance, while 75 percent disapprove. Mirroring their relatively increased support for the president, young Americans 18-34 are also twice (28%) as likely as older Americans (14%) to approve of Congress.

The Reason-Rupe national telephone poll, executed by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, conducted live interviews with 1000 adults on cell phones (500) and landlines (500) August 6-10, 2014. The poll's margin of error is +/-3.7%. Full poll results can be found here, including poll toplines (pdf)  and crosstabs (xls).