Field Poll: Californians' assessment of Obama plunges

amantz@sacbee.comJuly 23, 2013 

California voters' approval of President Barack Obama has plummeted to just over 50 percent, according to the Field Poll released Monday.

Obama's approval rating fell from 62 to 52 percent since the last survey in February. Before this 10-point drop, the president's numbers had climbed steadily since November 2011, when 48 percent of voters said they approved of the job he was doing.

Californians' perceptions of Obama's image remained positive, with 57 percent of voters saying they saw him in a favorable light. Nine percent of voters view Obama favorably but either have no opinion or disapprove of his job performance.

Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo said disappointment with Obama seemed strongest among Democrats, women and voters under 40.

Obama's approval rating dropped from 88 to 74 percent among Democrats, 68 to 53 percent among women, and 71 to 57 percent among voters ages 18 to 39.

"As you look at the subgroups of who changed their minds the most, they are primarily Democratic constituencies and constituencies that Obama has done extremely well with in the past," DiCamillo said.

DiCamillo said the recent disclosure of National Security Agency surveillance programs could have harmed Obama's ratings.

"The surveillance of phones, in a very broad way, does not sit well with those constituencies and is making some Democrats and some Obama supporters re-evaluate (his) job performance," DiCamillo said.

Stephanie Richards, a 34-year-old decline-to-state voter in Butte County, said she had high hopes for Obama in his first term, but started to feel disappointed in the past few months.

"I think he has positive intentions for our country, but as far as his ability to get that job done, I don't think he has lived up to my expectations," Richards said.

DiCamillo said many of the voters who no longer approve of Obama's handing of the presidency have switched to an undecided response rather than disapproval.

"It's kind of a half-step between approval and disapproval," he said.

Donald Piet, 42, a registered Republican in Placer County, said he felt let down that the partisan politics of Washington stopped Obama from accomplishing his goals.

"It gets a little frustrating because you hear campaign speeches and promises made and promises broken," Piet said. "When it comes down to brass tacks, they can't physically do it."

Call Annalise Mantz, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5545.

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