Americans are growing more pessimistic about the future, a bad sign for political incumbents everywhere.
Eighty-one per cent believe the country is on the wrong track, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll, a higher number than other surveys have found.
This question--measuring the country's mood and level of satisfaction with the status quo--has traditionally been a key indicator of whether a president will be re-elected. If so, President Obama is in trouble.
Only 33 per cent approve of Obama's handing of the economy, which is the main issue for most Americans; 45 per cent believe he deserves re-election while 48 per cent say he doesn't.
Pollsters of both major parties note that Obama seems to have a solid 45 per cent of the country in his corner, but it will be tough for him to get beyond that. So against a single Republican opponent, he might well lose because he would fall short of a majority. But if there is a third party or independent candidate from the right, that person could siphon off enough support from the GOP to throw the election to Obama.
White voters are a particular problem for Obama. Only 37 per cent approve of the job he is doing as president.
He also garners less support among Hispanics than he has in the past. About 56 per cent of Hispanics approve of his job performance; he won 67 per cent of the Latino vote in 2008.