Economic Worries Dominate Polls, Though Obama's Approval Climbs

The economy hits a two-year high in a poll on the nation's biggest problems

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In the weeks following the death of Osama bin Laden, we've heard a lot about how President Obama's approval numbers took a big jump. But time and again, we've also been reminded that Americans still aren't thrilled with the state of the economy--and that could cost Obama's re-election effort.

In a poll released today, Gallup asked Americans what they thought was the biggest problem facing the nation. (Gallup conducts this poll every month.) Seventy-four percent of respondents said the country's biggest problem was an economic issue of some kind. This includes unemployment (22 percent), fuel prices (8 percent), the federal budget deficit (12 percent), and simply the "economy in general" (35 percent).

It's hardly news that Americans are worried about the economy. Such problems have ranked highly in this Gallup poll for years--since 2008, more than 50 percent of people have named an economic problem as the most worrisome. But the most recent figures, 74 percent, represent a two-year high.

Marc Babej at Forbes doesn't read too much into the news, pointing out that "any one set of data is just a snapshot in time." But Douglas McIntyre at 24/7 Wall St., who's a bit of a glass-half-empty type, writes that "Americans see their place in the world, and the place of the US, eroding, and they know there is little they or the country can do about it ... There is no reason to think that the problems will not persist."

Meanwhile, the latest poll about Obama, conducted by Politico and GW Battleground, finds that 52 percent of voters approve of his overall job performance, while 57 percent disapprove of how he's handling the economy. Still, voters seemed to have more faith in Obama than in Congressional Republicans on the economy: 48 percent said he'd do a better job of turning it around, compared with 42 percent for the GOP. On job creation, 47 percent expressed confidence in Obama, versus 43 percent for Republicans.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.