Obama’s approval rating near record low as 70% say US on wrong track

© Yuri Gripas
Amid the nation’s terrorism fears, President Barack Obama's approval rating has plummeted to nearly a record low. It now stands at 43 percent, as seven in 10 Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, according to a recent poll.

The survey, conducted by the NBC/WSJ earlier in December, has revealed a 2 percentage point drop in Obama’s job approval since late October – close to his lowest ever of 40 percent, recorded on several occasions during his time in office, mostly in 2014 and 2013, according to Gallup daily tracking.

According to the poll, only 37 percent of American’s support Obama’s handling of foreign policy. The president’s approach in dealing with Islamic State (previously ISIS/ISIL) in Iraq and Syria has not won much approval, either, with 34 percent backing President Obama’s handling of the situation.

At the same time, 73 percent of respondents would like to see the next US president to take another approach.

Almost as many (70 percent) believe that the United States is heading in the wrong direction. Only 20 percent said they think that the country is on the right course.

Pollsters said that part of the reason for Obama’s dipping approval ratings is fears of terrorism among Americans, especially following the attacks in Paris and in San Bernardino, California.

"For most of 2015, the country's mood, and thus the presidential election, was defined by anger and the unevenness of the economic recovery," said Democratic pollster Fred Yang of Hart Research Associates, which conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies, NBC reported. "Now that has abruptly changed to fear."

In the poll, 40 percent of Americans called national security and terrorism the top priority for the US government. The figure is 19 percentage points higher than when the question was last asked in April. More Republican supporters than Democrats call national security and terrorism their top concern – 58 percent versus 26 percent, respectively. Democrat supporters appear to be more concerned about the economy and jobs, with 33 percent of them putting it top of their priority list (versus only 12 percent of Republicans).