President Obama's approval rating tumbled to a record low as Americans reacted to the government's sweeping surveillance programs and other scandals, according to the latest IBD/TIPP Presidential Leadership Index.
The Presidential Leadership Index fell to 43.2 from 48.9 a month earlier. The 11.7% slide was the worst since Obama took office. For the fourth straight month, the reading stood below 50, signaling disapproval.
Revelations about the National Security Agency's surveillance of Americans' phone records and Internet activity dominated recent headlines. Meanwhile, more news came out about the IRS' targeting of Tea Party and other conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.
"Each day that passes there's a new mention of these things," TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence President Raghavan Mayur said of the NSA, IRS and other scandals. "They seem to kind of fester. They don't seem to go away."
TechnoMetrica conducted the June 24-29 survey of 857 adults.
Invasion Of Privacy
A clear majority, 59%, said government surveillance invades innocent Americans' privacy, vs. 34% who disagreed. Among independents, the split was 72%-25%. Even 42% of Democrats agreed the surveillance invades privacy.
Obama has taken heat from his liberal base over the NSA program and the seizure of phone records of AP reporters and Fox News' James Rosen. Normally friendly editorial pages have been scathing and have noted Obama's broken 2008 promise to promote civil liberties.
The president's support among Democrats fell to 79.8, the lowest index reading since February 2012. His support among single women — a key part of his base — has tumbled 29% from 74.6 around Election Day to 52.9 now. Meanwhile, he fell to all-time lows among Republicans, independents, men and married women.
Overall, 41% approve of Obama's performance as president vs. 52% who disapprove. The net -11% is his lowest yet.
The IRS targeting scandal has remained in the news. The administration initially blamed a few rogue agents in Cincinnati. But it appears dozens of employees were involved, including some in Washington, D.C. Also, Tea Party targeting continued all the way into 2013.
Obama and the White House haven't been tied directly to the targeting. But Americans believe, 48%-38%, that senior White House officials requested it.
Meanwhile, Obama is pushing hard for immigration reform. The Senate voted 68-32 Thursday for the Gang of Eight bill.
The president also announced last week that he will enact sweeping regulations on power plants to fight climate change. Critics — and even some supporters — say it's a "war on coal."
Americans are divided on both issues. But opponents generally seem more animated.
That may be because Obama is focusing on what Americans deem to be low-priority issues — immigration, global warming and gun control — over jobs and the economy.
Many Americans are still struggling: 25% of respondents said someone in their household is looking for full-time work.
And the recovery is fragile. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's plan to curb quantitative easing has sent stocks lower and bond yields flying. Notably, investors' approval of Obama fell sharply to a record low. Self-described non-investors showed a more-modest decline.
Shortly before Independence Day, Americans' see the country's standing in the world taking a sharp hit from the NSA fallout. That reading fell 12.4% in the latest month to 36.8, the lowest in nearly two years.