Poll: Obama Reaches New Low on Handling Economy

In a new poll released Wednesday, the same day General Motors announced its intention to shed government-controlled ownership to return as a public company, President Obama received his lowest marks yet for his handling of the economy.

Special Section: Campaign 2010

In a sunny backyard in Columbus, Ohio, the president insisted the economy is improving and that his policies are helping propel the recovery, CBS News Correspondent Chip Reid reports.

"We are on the right track," Mr. Obama said. 'The economy is getting stronger."

There was no argument from the friendly group, but the American people overall are not buying it.

In a new poll by the Associated Press, just 41 percent of Americans approve of the president's performance on the economy, his lowest in that poll yet. Sixty-one percent say the economy has gotten worse or stayed the same during the president's term.

At an unemployment center outside of Cleveland, Rick Sippola said he had to close down his trucking supply business because he couldn't get a loan. He blames the president.

"I think he's been too hard on the regulations on the banks," Sippola said.

In all, 130,000 jobs have been lost in Ohio since the president was sworn in, and the unemployment rate here is 10.5 percent.

All that economic pain has angry voters in Ohio looking for someone to blame, and since Democrats are in charge Election Day for them could be a disaster.

The state's top two Democrats are both behind in the polls, Gov. Ted Strickland running for re-election and Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher running for the Senate.

The seats of four Democratic House members from Ohio - John Boccieri, Steve Driehaus, Mary Jo Kilroy and Betty Sutton - are also threatened.

The president raised money for Ohio Democrats Wednesday, but with his popularity here plunging, being on stage with him could hurt more than it helps.

"It could have a negative impact because he energizes Republicans probably more than he does Democrats," Joe Hallett, senior editor of The Columbus Dispatch, said.

The president Wednesday again blamed the Bush administration for the recession, but that argument doesn't seem to be hurting Rob Portman, a top official in the Bush White House who's leading in his race against Fisher for Ohio's open Senate seat.

"Elections are about the future, about 'Who's got a better plan to help me and my family,'" Portman said.

The president said Wednesday it will take a few years to dig out of such a deep recession, but with Election Day only 11 weeks away many here in Ohio are running out of patience.

  • Chip Reid

    Chip Reid is CBS News' national correspondent.