Just 42 percent of those surveyed in the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC poll approve of the job President Barack Obama’s doing, the lowest they’ve found since they began measuring his favorability in 2008. That’s down from 47 percent in a poll taken at the beginning of October; the president’s unfavorable rating ticked up from 48 percent to 51 (his high point was in April 2009).
The numbers don’t look good for his signature legislative achievement, either: A combined 56 percent of Americans say it should be repealed or completely overhauled.
Forty-seven percent say they think it was a bad idea, and just 37 percent say it was a good one, which is close to its worst ratings ever, and a bit worse than the poll taken October 7–9. And almost no one is happy with the law: 6 percent of respondents said it’s “working well the way it is.”
Thirty-eight percent say it “needs minor modifications to improve it,” 28 percent say it “needs a major overhaul,” and 24 percent said it “should be totally eliminated.” This week’s poll was the first time they’d asked that question, but things don’t seem to be moving in the right direction: 40 percent of those polled said the news of the last few weeks made them less confident in the health-care law, and just 9 percent said it made them more so (50 percent said no change).
The president wasn’t the only one to suffer, though: House speaker John Boehner, Senate majority leader Harry Reid, and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell all were near their historic worst ratings too. The Republican party hit a new low, too, at 22 percent approving versus 53 percent approving (the tea-party movement was one point more popular in the favorable column, with 23–47 rating). The debate over the government shutdown and the debt ceiling hurt all parties involved: 53 percent said they thought it made them think worse of Republicans, 45 percent thought less of tea-party Republicans, 38 percent of Democrats, and 41 percent of president Obama (almost 40 percent in all of those categories said it did not affect their opinion of them). Twenty-seven percent of American said they’d been affected by the federal-government shutdown.