In today’s Rasmussen survey, President Obama’s overall approval rating has fallen below 50% for the first time in his administration. Rasmussen finds 49% of likely voters approving of the President’s performance, while 51% disapprove. Obama’s “approval index,” the difference between those who “strongly approve” and “strongly disapprove,” has been negative for some time and now stands at -8.
These numbers are based on a three-day rolling average, and most of Rasmussen’s polling took place before Obama’s Wednesday press conference and the Gates controversy. It will be interesting to see whether his numbers continue to decline over the next two days.
Obama scores lower in Rasmussen’s survey than in the Gallup poll and most others because Rasmussen’s is a likely voter poll. Obama continues to be extraordinarily popular with African-Americans, and I assume his numbers depend in part on how one assesses the likelihood that the first-time and infrequent voters whom Obama brought to the polls in 2008 will turn out again in 2012. Any way you look at it, however, it appears clear that for President Obama, the honeymoon is over.

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