Democrats Fret Over Obama Poll Numbers

Party members worry that Obama could drag them down in 2014.

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Democratic strategists are increasingly worried about the decline in President Obama's job approval ratings.

"We aren't panicking but it's a source of concern," a senior Democrat told me.

The latest example is Wednesday's Washington Post/ABC News poll, which finds that 50 percent of Americans approve of Obama's job performance, down 5 percentage points from January.

The decline is especially apparent among independents. Two months ago, 54 percent of independents approved of his job performance; today only 44 percent approve.

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President Obama is pushing the Senate to move forward on gun legislation.

A new McClatchy-Marist poll is even worse for Obama. Only 45 percent say he is doing a good job and 48 percent don't approve of his job performance.

One concern among Democrats is that a politically weakened Obama will pull down his party's candidates in the midterm elections of 2014.

And Obama is slipping in his credibility on the economy. In December, Obama held an 18-point advantage over congressional Republicans on the question of who could be trusted more to deal with the economy. Today, 44 percent say they trust Obama and 40 percent say they trust the GOP, a much narrower margin.

Obama supporters take consolation from the fact that the overall job approval rating for Congress is far worse than the president's, with only 16 percent giving Congress a favorable rating.

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But many voters think Obama has been crying wolf about the impact of current spending cuts known as sequestration, pollsters say, and people are disgusted that Washington, with Obama at the helm, can't seem to function effectively.

Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog "Ken Walsh's Washington" for usnews.com, and is the author of "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He can be reached at kwalsh@usnews.com, and followed on Facebook and Twitter.