Obama job approval down 10 points in California

President Barack Obama’s job performance rating among California voters has taken a ten-point drop since the Field Poll’s last measure in February. Then, 62% of this state’s voters approved of the job he was doing. Now, the President’s approval rating stands at 52%.

The largest decline in Obama’s job appraisals is seen among segments of the California electorate that have historically given him high marks. These include registered Democrats and non-partisans, women, and voters under age 40. Each show double-digit declines in approval from February.

The complete survey can be viewed here.

Apart from how Californians view the job Obama is doing, 57% say they have a favorable opinion of the President overall, while 35% hold an unfavorable view. Majorities of this state’s voters have consistently viewed Obama favorably throughout his tenure as President, and their current image rating is identical to the assessment voters gave him shortly before his re-election last year. What’s changed is that 9% of all voters and 11% of rank-and-file Democrats who view Obama favorably now disapprove or are undecided about his job performance.

Trend in Obama’s job approval in California
There have been some significant swings in California voter assessments of the President’s performance since he took office. After initially receiving a very high 65% approval rating during his “honeymoon period” shortly after his election victory in 2008, voter assessments declined some in subsequent years, remaining in the mid to low 50% range throughout 2010 and early 2011. In late 2011 Obama’s job ratings declined further, with about as many Californians disapproving as approving of his performance.

Obama’s approval ratings bounced back during his 2012 re-election year and climbed to 62% in early 2013 following his second-term victory. Since then voter assessments of the President’s performance have fallen back to where 52% now approve of the job he is doing and 35% disapprove.

Recent decline spans all voter subgroups, but is greatest among segments that have previously been among his strongest supporters The recent decline in the President’s approval ratings in California can be seen across all demographic subgroups of the electorate. Obama’s biggest declines have occurred among segments of the California electorate that had been among his strongest supporters. For example, in the past five months Obama’s job approval declined fourteen points among registered Democrats (88% to 74%), fifteen points among women (from 68% to 53%), and fourteen points among voters under the age of 40 (from 71% to 57%). It has also declined fourteen points among college graduates, thirteen points among white non-Hispanics and twelve points among non-partisans.

Obama’s overall image with voters remains favorable Despite the decline in Obama’s job approval ratings in recent months, California voters still have a generally positive image of the President overall. Currently 57% say they view him favorably, while 35% hold a negative impression.

These results are similar to most previous Field Poll image measures of Obama since 2008 and to the assessments California voters gave him shortly before his re-election victory last year.

Four out of five Democrats (80%) and 60% of non-partisans say they view Obama generally in a favorable light. In contrast, Republicans view Obama very negatively, with 73% holding a negative opinion and just 20% a positive appraisal.

Job performance vs. image appraisal
When the views of individual voters are examined on both job performance and his personal image, about half of the electorate (49%) have both a favorable view of Obama and approve of the job he is doing. This compares to 33% who view him unfavorably and disapprove of his performance. The recent decline in Obama’s job approval is due to the fact that 9% of voters now view Obama favorably but disapprove or are undecided when asked about his job performance. This increases to 11% among members of his own party.

Ed’s Note: The survey was conducted June 26 – July 21, 2013 among 846 registered voters in California, using live interviewers working from Field Research Corporation’s central location telephone interviewing facilities in San Diego. The maximum sampling error for results from the overall sample is +/- 3.5 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. The Field Poll was established in 1947 as The California Poll by Mervin Field, who is still an active advisor.

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