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  • Wednesday, October, 2020| Today's Market | Current Time: 05:07:40
  • While critics continue to blast U.S. President Barack Obama over the economy, this week also saw a couple of added gripes.

    First there is the controversy surrounding the president’s statements in support of a Muslim group’s legal right to build a mosque just blocks from New York’s Ground Zero.

    Then on Wednesday an Associated Press poll found that a majority of Americans give the president low marks on the economy.

    And, Obama is being upbraided for taking a vacation when the nation is in the midst of a war in Afghanistan and a jobs crisis, despite taking some of his top aides on holidays with him.

    All this may lead to the belief that Obama is disastrously unpopular. While his approval ratings have seen better days, things could be worse, considering the depth of this worst recession since the 1930s.

    Thomas E. Mann, senior fellow at the U.S. think tank Brookings Institution, says the economy is to blame for Obama’s dipping approval ratings.

    “Obama’s declining popularity is due almost entirely to a sick economy,” he says.

    “The trend in his approval ratings mirrors that of Ronald Reagan — in fact Obama is doing a bit better than Reagan at a comparable point in his presidency, even though the economic crisis faced by Obama is much more severe.”

    Much focus has also been on the debate over the mosque near Ground Zero.

    While some applauded the president for supporting a Muslim group’s legal right to build a mosque on private property, others billed the project as insensitive to the families of those killed in the September 11.

    The issue is stirring speculation over whether the president’s stance might hurt Democrats — and his own presidency — as it could provide fodder for the GOP in the upcoming November elections.

    “The mosque controversy mainly ignites those already strongly opposed to him,” Mann says. “It is unlikely to have any lasting impact.”

    Indeed, a Gallup poll released Wednesday found those engaged in the mosque debate tend to be opponents of the president. Other experts said it was no make-or-break issue for the Congressional elections.

    Still, the president’s approval ratings continue to go lower. A Gallup tracking poll released Tuesday found that a majority of Americans — 51 percent — disapproved of Obama’s overall performance.

    This week, the president also took flak over the economy. An Associated Press poll released Wednesday found that 56 percent of respondents disapproved of how the president is steering the economy. Forty-one percent said they approved, down from 44 percent in April.

    While Obama has been zigzagging across the nation to deliver his “summer of recovery” message that the economy is finally improving, voters fret over the nation’s near double-digit unemployment numbers, which economists say will not return to pre-recession levels for a few years.

    Critics say Obama’s policies are doing nothing to create jobs, and some have voiced worries that the administration’s heavy spending is only adding to the ballooning deficit.

    The administration has responded to those charges, saying it is creating jobs in the manufacturing sector and pointing out that exports in the first quarter of 2010 rose 17 percent year on year.

    The administration has also said it inherited a mess created by what it said were poor polices from the previous administration.

    Still, the president’s sliding popularity is stirring speculation that Democrats are keeping their distance from him — Democratic nominee for governor of Texas Bill White was absent during Obama’s recent visit to that state.

    Some analysts predict the party could lose large swaths of political territory and even control of the House.

    But others say the Democrats’ chances of losing the House are about 50-50 and that a GOP takeover of the Senate is less likely.

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