President Barack Obama is in a fragile position as the 2012 campaign begins: Only 37 percent of registered voters approve of his handling of the economy, his lowest rating ever, according to a new McClatchy Newspapers-Marist poll.
Another ominous sign for Obama: By nearly 2-1, voters disapprove of how he's handling the federal budget deficit, expected to hit a record $1.5 trillion this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.
"It's a real caution sign ... the four-year lease on the White House is very much dependent on how people end up looking at the economy," said Lee Miringoff, the director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, which performed the survey.
The poll of 1,003 adults, including 801 registered voters, was conducted June 15-23. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.0 percentage points for the entire sample and plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for registered voters.
The poll findings were released Monday, as the president increased his personal stake in stalled talks aimed at raising the federal debt ceiling while agreeing to long-term spending cuts. He met separately with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.