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Poll: Obama Approval Up, Effectiveness Down; GOP In Doldrums

By Liz Halloran | NPR
Wednesday, May 8, 2013

President Obama's job approval has inched up in recent weeks, but the percentage of Americans who say they believe he is effective has taken a hit, according to a Pew Research Center survey released Wednesday.

And while the image of Republican leadership remains "deeply negative," and continues bearing the brunt of the blame for Washington gridlock, the survey found that the GOP runs even with Democrats on the key issues of the economy, immigration and guns.

The survey also showed that even while Republicans hold a negative view of their own leaders, with over half expressing disapproval, they remain loyal to the party on those key issues.

Pew, however, found that though Democrats give higher marks to their congressional leaders, they are more likely than Republicans to part ways with the party line on key issues such as the economy and guns.

One example: 65 percent of Democrats said that their party would do a better job dealing with the economy, compared to 79 percent of Republicans who favored the economic policies of their party.

Obama's approval among those surveyed has bumped up to just over 50 percent in the new survey. But fewer than half of those surveyed this month say he's "able to get things done," down from 57 percent who answered the question affirmatively in January.

Three quarters of those surveyed still view Obama as a fighter who "stands up for what he believes in," and more than two thirds agreed with the statement that he "fights hard to get his policies passed."

So while the poll may show a drop in the perception of Obama's effectiveness, Pew director Michael Dimock says, a high percentage of Americans surveyed said "it's not for lack of effort."

Pew notes that a record high of 80 percent of those surveyed say that Obama and Republican leaders are failing to work together on important issues the country faces - from the economy and immigration, to gun control.

Obama also maintained what Pew characterized as a "substantial advantage" over congressional Republicans in the realm of public regard. Fifty-one percent approve of the job Obama is doing, compared with the 22 percent who approve of Republican leaders.

Full survey results may be found at the Pew Research Center for People and the Press.

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