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Obama falters in Gallup poll on economy: what that says about the recovery

A new Gallup poll finds the approval rating for Obama has fallen to 35 percent for his handling of the economy, suggesting public impatience with the pace of the recovery.

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A jobseeker fills out a contact form at a job fair in Miami Lakes, Florida, on Wednesday. A Gallup poll reports that Obama's approval rating for his handling of the economy has slid to 35 percent.

Alan Diaz/AP

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President Obama’s economic approval numbers have slipped this summer, even as he has crisscrossed the nation making the case that the nation’s financial picture has improved.

A new Gallup survey rates Mr. Obama’s handling of the economy at 35 percent, down seven points since June. His marks on taxes and the federal budget deficit have each dropped five points over the same period, to 36 percent and 26 percent respectively.

The president’s overall approval rating, meanwhile, has settled to 44 percent – from 47 percent two months ago.

Gallup, whose latest poll on Obama’s performance was conducted Aug. 7-11, notes that “these declines somewhat parallel the slide Gallup has seen in Americans’ economic confidence over the same period, although confidence picked up slightly this past week.”

So what gives? Is the White House right about the economy? Or are Americans feeling the pinch in a way the president hasn’t been taking into account?

If there’s a short answer to this question, it’s that the White House take on the economy is a tad rosy in some areas, while Americans are confronted daily with the excruciatingly slow pace of recovery.

Economic indicators, like so many numbers, are subject to interpretation. They are often crunched and spun these days just like campaign polling. So what is asserted as fact can sometimes depend on the sources cited and the reporting outlet.

Across the board, economists look at a range of data, from the stock market and unemployment numbers to manufacturing activity, housing sales, and the gross domestic product. And there are, of course, a slew of other variables.

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