U.S. registered voters, by 46% to 38%, continue to say they are more likely to vote for the Republican presidential candidate than for Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election. The generic Republican led by the same eight-percentage-point margin in September, and also held a lead in July. The August update, conducted just after an agreement to raise the federal debt limit, had Obama with a slight edge.
Just 44 percent of those surveyed said they approved of Obama’s performance as president—his lowest rating in the 10 Heartland Monitor polls conducted since April 2009. Likewise, the share of adults disapproving of his performance also reached a high at 50 percent. Those results reversed modest but consistent gains for Obama since his previous low point in the survey in August 2010. In the most recent survey, conducted last May in the aftermath of the Osama bin Laden raid, Obama’s approval rating had edged up to 51 percent, with only 41 percent disapproving.
Equally ominous for the president: 70 percent of those polled in the new survey said that the country was on the wrong track. That’s a sharp increase just since the most recent Heartland Monitor in May—and by far the highest level of dissatisfaction over the country’s direction recorded in any of the 10 polls.
The U.S. government posted its third consecutive annual budget deficit in excess of $1 trillion in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30.
The shortfall registered $1.3 trillion in fiscal 2011, up from $1.29 trillion in 2010 and the second-highest on record, according to Treasury Department data issued today in Washington. It reached $1.42 trillion in 2009, the highest ever. The September gap widened to $64.6 billion from $34.6 billion in the same month last year.
Consumer sentiment unexpectedly slumped in early October as worries about declining incomes drove consumer expectations back down to the lowest level in more than 30 years, a survey released on Friday showed.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment sagged to 57.5 from 59.4 the month before. It fell short of the median forecast of 60.2 among economists polled by Reuters.
There were a couple of bright spots. Stocks are up, though in light of his planned attacks on Wall Street, the president probably will not tout that trend as a positive sign. An uptick in retail sales is probably the one unambiguous point of light.