Poll: Obama Approval Rating Stands at 51 Percent

President Barack Obama speaks during a memorial service for the miners killed in the Upper Big Branch Mine, in Beckley, W.Va., Sunday, April 25, 2010.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon) AP Photo/Alex Brandon

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CBS News Poll analysis by the CBS News Polling Unit: Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Fred Backus and Anthony Salvanto.

President Obama's approval rating, buoyed by improved perceptions of his handling of the economy, stands at 51 percent in a new CBS News/New York Times poll.

Thirty-nine percent say they disapprove of the president's handling of his job according to the poll, which was conducted between April 28th and May 2nd.

Both the president's approval and disapproval ratings are essentially unchanged from mid-April, though they have recovered from the beginning of last month, when Mr. Obama's approval rating hit an all-time low of 44 percent. The new poll suggests that perceptions of the economy and the president's handling of it have improved, particularly among independents.

Forty-one percent now say the economy is getting better, up from 33 percent in April and just seven percent in January 2009. And while 54 percent said the economy was getting worse in January of last year, when the president took office, just 15 percent say so today.

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Still, 72 percent say the national economy is in bad shape - a drop from last month but a far cry from October of 2007, when fewer than half of Americans described the economy as bad.

Americans remain particularly concerned about the job market. Thirty-four percent are "very concerned" someone in their household might be out of work and looking for a job in the next year. Another 30 percent are somewhat concerned. Just 35 percent say they are not concerned.

There has been little movement in perceptions of how Mr. Obama has handled health care or foreign policy. Despite a push to improve perceptions of the health care bill, just 44 percent approve of the president's handling of the issue.

That's a modest increase from last month's 41 percent figure, but it falls short of the 48 percent who disapprove of the president's handling of health care.

On foreign policy, 48 percent approve of Mr. Obama's handling of the issue, while 38 percent disapprove.

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This poll was conducted among a random sample of 1079 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone April 28-May 2, 2010. Phone numbers were dialed from random digit dial samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups is higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

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