Only 37% Approve of Obama's Handling of the Economy, An All-Time Low

60% of Independents, 91% of Republicans disapprove


WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is in a fragile position as the 2012 campaign begins: Only 37 percent of registered voters approve of his handling of the economy, his lowest rating ever, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll.

Another ominous sign for Obama: By nearly 2-1, voters disapprove of how he's handling the federal budget deficit, expected to hit a record $1.5 trillion this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30

"It's a real caution sign ... the four-year lease on the White House is very much dependent on how people end up looking at the economy," said Lee Miringoff, the director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, which performed the survey

Obama's political stature, like that of most modern presidents, largely rises and falls with the economy. He's been singed lately by gasoline prices that reached $4 a gallon, a May unemployment rate of 9.1 percent and an economy that grew at a modest 1.9 percent pace in this year's first quarter

The economic numbers tell why: Fifty-eight percent of voters disapprove of Obama's handling of the economy, comprising 60 percent of independents, 31 percent of Democrats and 91 percent of Republicans
Now for the stunner. Here we are 2 1/2 years into the Obama presidency