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Contradictions arise in CNN poll

A CNN opinion poll released Monday shows a majority of Americans approve of the President Barack Obama’s job overall, but rate him negatively on different issues.

Obama enjoys a 51 percent approval rating with 47 percent of respondents disapproving. When pressed on specific issues, public opinion seems to turn against the president though. When surveyed about nine different topics, the president’s approval numbers were underwater for seven of them.

Issues included in the polling include his approach to gun policy, undocumented immigration and the federal budget deficit, three headline-grabbing issues. Forty-five percent and 44 percent of respondents support the president on gun policy and his handling of undocumented immigration. A paltry 38 percent of those questioned said they approved of his handing on the federal budget deficit.

These are all areas where Obama is looking for legislative victories, hoping to notch a couple more major initiatives, adding to health care reform and financial regulatory reform both passed in his first term.

A new grassroots organization, Organizing for Action, which grew out of his campaign’s infrastructure, may face an uphill battle in fighting for the president’s agenda if this poll gauged public correctly. In a twist of fate, the president’s fate on these issues might be in the hands of Senate Republicans.

The Gang of Eight, a bipartisan group of senators, is reportedly close to a deal on an immigration overhaul, with some hoping it could be introduced late this week. In the gun control area, Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., has breathed new life into talks surrounding a measure to expand background checks. Obama will attempt to wine and dine a dozen Senate Republicans on Wednesday, hoping to cool somewhat icy relationships between the caucus and the White House.

That part of Obama’s legacy hinges on 45 Republican lawmakers is even more surprising when looking at the approval ratings of GOP leaders in Congress. Only one in four respondents gave the leaders a thumbs up.

- Andrew Hedlund, Medill News Service