Only 44 percent approve of the president's handling of Afghanistan, down from 48 percent last month. (Fewer - 35 percent - disapprove of the president's handling on the issue.) The president is now trying to decide whether to follow the advice from General Stanley A. McChrystal, laid out in a leaked memo, to increase troop levels in the country if he wants to avoid failure.
Perceptions of the president's handling of health care, by contrast, have improved, though they are still below 50 percent. Forty-seven percent now say they approve of the president's handling of what has became his defining issue over the summer, up from 40 percent last month.
On the economy, one in two Americans approve of the president's performance. Forty percent disapprove. Mr. Obama fares far better than Congressional Republicans on the issue: Asked who has better ideas on the economy between the two, 53 percent cited the president while just 27 percent pointed to Republicans in Congress.
Fifty-six percent believe the president will eventually break his campaign promise not to raise taxes on households who earn less than $250,000 per year.
Though it remains high, Mr. Obama's overall approval rating has fallen from April, when 68 percent approved of the president's performance.
Despite his many recent television appearances, most Americans do not feel the president is overexposed. Fifty-eight percent believe he has made about the right number of appearances. (Click the link to read more.)
First Lady Michelle Obama receives generally positive ratings from the public, with 50 percent viewing her favorably and just seven percent viewing her unfavorably. An additional 41 percent are undecided or don't know.
While Michelle Obama's favorable rating has slipped from April 27th, when it hit 67 percent as the president celebrated his 100th day in office, it stands roughly where it has for most of the year.
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This poll was conducted among a random sample of 1042 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone September 19-23, 2009. 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.