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Election bump over, Barack Obama approval drops to 43 percent: poll

WASHINGTON -- Less than two months into his second term, President Barack Obama's approval rating has dropped and Americans blame him and his fellow Democrats almost as much as his Republican opponents for a fiscal mess.

A Reuters/Ipsos online poll released on Wednesday showed 43 percent of people approve of Obama's handling of his job, down 7 percentage points from Feb. 19.

Most of that steep drop came in the week to Feb. 26 when it was becoming clear that Washington was going to be unable to put aside partisan differences and agree to halt automatic budget cuts which started last Friday.

Confounding the White House's efforts to blame Republicans for the cuts, most respondents in the online survey hold both Democrats and Republicans responsible.

Obama shot out of the gate in January at the start of his second four years in the White House, promising gun control and immigration legislation as well as efforts to tackle climate change and expand gay rights.

But Ipsos pollster Julia Clark said the survey shows Obama's honeymoon is now over, partly due to the “sequestration” cuts which will likely curtail public services like air traffic control and national parks as well as funding for the Pentagon.

“People are seeing things are back to business as usual in Washington,” she said. “They are reading about the immense fallout this is going to have in terms of how it's going to affect the military and individuals.”

Thirty-eight percent of Americans believe all the political actors involved — Republican and Democratic members of Congress along with Obama — deserve most of the blame for the cuts.

Twenty-seven percent think Republicans in Congress are responsible, 17 percent blamed Obama and 6 percent thought Democrats were to blame. Nearly half of independent voters, 49 percent, said both sides deserve the blame.

“I think this frustration is being reflected certainly in their view of the president and Congress as well. This is a pox on everyone's house really,” Clark said.

The fall in Obama's rating was similar to that in the Gallup three-day average tracking poll which shows his approval dropping 7 percentage points from late February to last weekend before recovering slightly.

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