Half Measure: Obama's Approval Rating at 50%

Economy, health care plan take toll on president's popularity in new poll

The honeymoon is over for President Obama after just 200 days, with a new poll showing his approval rating is down to 50%.

A health care plan that seems stuck in neutral, a sputtering economy and fears about soaring deficits are taking  a toll on Obama, and voters are increasingly unwilling to give him the benefit of the doubt, said Peter Brown, a pollster at Quinnipiac University. While half of those surveyed approved of Obama's performance, 42% disapproved. That was down from June's figures, which showed 57% approving of Obama's work and 33% disapproving.

Respondents were most critical of Obama's handling of the economy and of his efforts to reform the health care system. A majority did approve of the president's handling of foreign policy.

The poll was taken in the middle of the high-profile race debate involving Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates and a Massachusetts cop who arrested him for disorderly conduct. Obama weighed in on the matter, saying the police "acted stupidly." By a 62-26 margin, voters said the president whould have stayed out of the affair.

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Bloomberg News, Quinnipiac University

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