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By Sandy Fitzgerald


President Barack Obama now has his highest approval ratings since September 2009, according to a new Bloomberg poll, and those responding say they prefer his economic message over that of Republicans.

The poll found that 55 percent of respondents approve of the president’s job performance, the highest numbers since his first year in office, Politico reports. Another 40 percent disapprove.

Meanwhile, 55 percent say they have an unfavorable view of the Republican Party, while 35 percent approve, according to the poll of 1,003 adults conducted Feb. 15-18 and released Wednesday.

But while Americans approve of Obama’s overall job performance, only 35 percent actually approve of his handling of the economy, and 55 percent disapprove of his handling of the federal deficit.

A majority of survey participants also say they approve of Obama’s handling of foreign policy and his efforts to combat terrorism.

And on the immigration issue, 47 percent approve of how Obama is handling immigration reform efforts, while 38 percent disapprove.

Obama’s ratings were hindered slightly by the ongoing controversy over automatic spending cuts due to take effect on March 1. Only 42 percent approve of how the president is negotiating with Republicans on the issue of sequestration, while 44 percent disapprove.

However, 44 percent of those surveyed say they blame Republicans more than Democrats for problems in Washington, while 34 percent blame Democrats.

Despite the approaching deadline for spending cuts to kick in, 74 percent say they expect the economy to improve or stay the same this year, while 73 percent say they are optimistic about job growth. Meanwhile, 81 percent say they are optimistic as well about the housing market.

But that optimism vanishes when healthcare comes up; 55 percent say they think healthcare costs will get worse.


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