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Rasmussen: Nearly 70% of Independents believe country is headed in the wrong direction

by Christopher A. Guzman, published

As President Obama attempts to build momentum in the midst of a Republican field of presidential challengers still in formation, independent pollster Scott Rasmussen reveals a strong majority of voters unaffiliated with both political parties believes that the country is headed in the wrong direction.

     "Most Republicans (87%) and voters not affiliated with either major political party (69%) continue to believe the United States is heading down the wrong track," the poll said.

Meanwhile, with President Obama in office, his Democratic base continues to remain loyal.  Unlike the skeptical outlook of Republicans and Independents, 52% of Democrats believe that the country is headed in the right direction.

For the second week in a row, this week's poll (taken the week ending on Sunday May 15) shows that only 29% of voters overall believe that the country is headed in the right direction. This finding, Rasmussen notes, is actually up 8 points since President Obama assumed office after President George W. Bush. Since President Obama's inauguration, those saying that the country is headed in the right direction has ranged from a low of 21% to a high of 35%, the poll said.

     "Leading up to Obama's inauguration, the number of voters who felt the country was heading in the right direction remained below 20%. The week of his inauguration, voter confidence rose to 27% and climbed into the low to mid-30s until mid May of that year. Since then, belief that the country is heading in the right direction has been trending lower," the poll's finding also noted.

Many voters at the moment are skeptical of the outcome of many of the issues facing the country under the Obama administration, including the new healthcare law signed by the president, U.S. military involvement in Libya, higher interest rates, the value of homes, and stopping illegal immigration.

Although most Americans believe that former President George W. Bush is largely responsible for the nation's current economic problems, individuals trust their own judgment and believe that they are better equipped to handle these problems than President Obama's policies. In foreign policy, voter outlook on the President's biggest foreign policy accomplishment to date, the killing of Osama bin Laden, has even dipped from last week.

With Americans split on whether President Obama deserves a second term, early indications seem to point to President Obama following the path of President George H.W. Bush, who experienced a 24 point boost in public approval after Operation Desert Storm but was eventually haunted by problems on the home front. President Obama's boost was a mere 9 points.

Additionally, with the Independent vote being crucial to President Obama's victory in 2008, the growing demographic makes the warning sign of his lagging support all the more significant. The overall trend of Independents siding with Republicans on certain issues is strikingly similar to Independent voter patterns reputably found elsewhere where they are reported to trust Republicans more with the task of managing the federal government.

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