The latest New York Times/CBS News Poll shows Barack Obama has lost considerable ground with the American public regarding his foreign policy.
Fifty-eight percent of respondents disapprove of how Obama deals with foreign policy, 10 points higher than the CBS News poll conducted last month; 50% don’t approve of his actions regarding terrorism, a 12-point jump from last March.
The percentage of those disapproving of Obama’s handling of terrorism is the highest of his presidency. Even one-third of Democrats, normally in lockstep with Obama, now think he has no clear plan for confronting Islamic State, and roughly 40% of Democrats think he is too soft. Almost 60% of respondents think Islamic State is a major threat to America, while 70% believe in airstrikes against Islamic State, including a majority of voters from the GOP, Democrats, and independents.
The percentage of those desiring U.S. leadership in global foreign affairs is rising quickly; in February, 65% of respondents opposed the U.S. taking the lead, but that dropped to 58% in June and 54% now.
The public’s growing sentiment for U.S. involvement abroad was reflected in Wednesday’s vote in the House of Representatives, which approved by a vote of 273-156 Obama’s request to arm and train Syrian rebels warring with Islamic State. The Senate will vote on the issue on Thursday. The poll showed 48% of voters backing Obama’s proposal, with 40% dissenting.
Obama isn’t just losing ground on foreign policy and terrorism, where voters prefer the GOP to the Democrats; voters still place economic woes at the top of their priority list, and voters now prefer the GOP to deal with that issue, a change from last month when the same poll found voters evenly split between the two parties.
The poll reveals that roughly 90% of voters want to give new people a chance in Congress, a danger for incumbents, but 45% of likely voters say they will vote for GOP representatives in the House in November, as opposed to 39% preferring Democrats.
Even though more GOP voters are dissatisfied with their representatives than Democrats, disaffection with Obama may trump that; 55% of GOP voters say that when they vote for Congress, they want to vote against Obama.