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Poll: 7 in 10 say Obama has not helped economy

Chart - Obama fixing the economy

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

A new CBS News poll finds that nearly seven in 10 Americans believe President Obama has not made real progress in fixing the economy.

Sixty-nine percent say the president has not made real progress on the economy, which voters overwhelmingly cite as their most important issue. Twenty-five percent say he has made real progress.

Perceptions are not improving. The percentage who said Mr. Obama has made real progress has dropped 10 points from a survey 13 months ago, when 35 percent said he had made real progress.

Just 35 percent of Americans approve of Mr. Obama's handling of the economy, and his approval rating on the issue has been below 40 percent since February. Fifty-three percent approve of his handling of the economy.

Still, most don't blame the administration for the state of the economy. Asked who was most to blame, Americans cited the Bush administration (22 percent), followed by Wall Street (16 percent), Congress (15 percent) and then the Obama administration (12 percent.) One in 10 said "all of the above."

President Obama's overall approval rating now stands at 44 percent in the CBS News poll. It has not hit 50 percent or higher since April 2010.

Many Americans say they are disappointed with how much Mr. Obama has been able to accomplish. Forty-three percent say he has accomplished less than they expected, while just 9 nine percent say he has accomplished more than expected. The percentage who says he has accomplished less than expected has increased 17 points since January 2010. One in two Republicans say Mr. Obama has fallen short of expectations, and 39 percent of Democrats agree.

Yet most Americans say they approve of Mr. Obama when it comes to his personal qualities and beliefs. Seventy percent say he stands up for his beliefs; 69 percent say he cares about their needs and problems. Sixty-five percent say they have a clear idea of what the president stands for, and 57 percent say he has strong qualities of leadership.

On that last question, however, there is reason for Mr. Obama's reelection team to be concerned: The percentage that sees Mr. Obama as a strong leader has fallen from 70 percent in January 2010 and 85 percent in February 2009.

Chart - Obama Approval

More from the poll:

Poll: Most want taxes on millionaires increased
Poll: Views of Congress (again) hit new low
Poll: Just 1 in 5 Americans happy with direction of country
Poll: Nearly 2 in 3 want troops in Afghanistan decreased
Poll: Half of U.S. says Afghan war not a success
Read the complete poll (PDF)

This poll was conducted by telephone from September 28-October 2, 2011 among 1,012 adults nationwide. Phone numbers were dialed from 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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