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Zogby Interactive: Democrats show no gains after passage of financial regulation and unemployment extension

UTICA, New York - Over the past week, President Barack Obama's approval rating among likely voters gained one point, up to 46%, while Republicans gained one point in their advantage over Democrats in voter party preference in the upcoming November Congressional elections.

Those results came from Zogby Interactive surveys of likely voters conducted July 23-26 and a similar poll July 16-19.

The week between the two polls was an eventful week, including Congress passing a financial regulation bill and an extension of unemployment benefits, as well as wide coverage about Shirley Sherrod. During the time between the two polls, the President's approval rating dropped 15 points among African-Americans. When asked which party's Congressional candidate they planned to vote for, support for Democrats among African-Americans fell 13 points.

Democrats and Obama did gain among independent voters, who increased both their approval rating of the President and their intention to vote for a Congressional Democrat by four points.

Obama Approval

The most recent poll found 46% approved of Obama's job performance, and 53% disapproved. In the previous poll, July 16-19, 45% approved and 54% disapproved.

Congressional Generic Ballot

When asked which party's candidate they intend to vote for in 2010 Congressional races, the results were 43% Republican, 40% Democrat, 3% neither and 14% not sure/refused to answer. In the previous poll, the results were Republicans 43%, Democrats 41%, 3% neither and 13% not sure/refused to answer.

Nation's Direction Right or Wrong

Fifty-five percent of voters think the nation is headed in the wrong direction, while 36% think it's headed in the right direction. Nine percent were not sure. On July 19, the results were 56% wrong direction, 35% right direction and 9% not sure.

The July 23-July 26 poll consisted of 2,067 likely voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2%. The July 16-July 19 poll consisted of 8,487 likely voters has a margin of error plus or minus 1.1%.

Pollster John Zogby: "Our polling implies that what could have been a very good week for President Obama and the Democrats was neutralized by its handling of the Shirley Sherrod situation. Both the President and his party gained support from independents, probably because they passed two popular measures, financial reform and an extension of unemployment benefits. However, the drop in support among African-Americans for both Obama and Democrats surely appears to be caused by the premature dismissal of Sherrod. Democrats cannot afford to lose these voters in November, so Obama had better make restoring their confidence in him a priority."

A sampling of Zogby International's online panel, which is representative of the adult population of the U.S., was invited to participate in the survey. Slight weights were added to region, party, age, race, religion, gender and education to more accurately reflect the population. The margin of error is +/- 2.2 percentage points. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups.