Andrew MalcolmL.A. Times

Judging by President Obama's remarks and media coverage,

the No. 1 topic on Americans' minds nowadays is the awful

oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Not!

Gallup finds terrorism remains the top concern.

But it has now been joined by -- Hello, big Democratic spenders

Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid -- the exploding enormity of the

federal deficits. And here's the midterm election year political

problem for both of these Democrats: Republicans are viewed

as better at handling both of those concerns.

ABC News finds voter frustration at the boiling point.

The number of Americans approving of ...

... their local House member has dropped below 50%

for the first time since Bill Clinton's first midterm elections in 1994.

Anybody remember which party named Republican seized control

of both houses of Congress that year for the first time in four decades?

Voter approval of Congress is now at 26%, down 18 points since the

same Democrats took majority control of both houses in 2007.

As a Public Opinion Strategies memo notes here, Americans' perception

of the economy has actually weakened in the last two months.

And predictably they are turning to the federal government's top talker for

the blame; 44% of the country approves of Obama's handling of the economy

while 53% disapprove.

The even better news for Republicans is that the GOP has increased its

lead on the so-called generic congressional ballot this month.

That is, which party's candidate are you most likely to vote for on Nov. 2?

Republicans now lead Democrats by nine points, 44-35,

Rasmussen Reports reports.

The Harris Poll has an interesting new survey out on how 2,503 Americans

rate 16 elements of life in their country. Large majorities give positive ratings

to America's science and technology (75%), its Constitution (70%),

quality of life (66%) and even its overpriced colleges and universities (65%).

The more education you have, the higher you rate these categories.

However, the healthcare system (33%), public schools (32%) and the

economic system (28%) don't get rated very well.

Incumbent Alert: You'll never guess which sector gets the worst rating

from Americans: Political (23%).

Some interesting wrinkles within, though. There's not much difference

among Republicans, Democrats and independents on many segments.

However, America's civil rights get better ratings from Republicans (70%)

than Democrats (53%); equality of opportunity (65% GOP, 47% Democrat)

and the environment (61% GOP, 37% Democrat). Only 19% of Republicans,

however, rate the system of government highly, while 33% of Democrats do.

The good polling news for Obama is that after 17 months of hope and change,

less than half of all Americans (47%) approve of his overall job performance in

the White House.

The bad news for Obama is, despite his nationally televised professed readiness

to consult experts on whose "ass" to kick over the slick mess, way less (40%)

approve of his handling of the nation's worst environmental disaster ever,

Gallup finds.

One other piece of good news for the ex-state senator.

It is true that a significant majority of Americans disagree with him and approve

of Arizona's tough new illegal immigrant legislation and wish their state would

do the same and blame Obama's federal government for porous border security

with Mexico. All that's true.

However, the good news for the Democrat is that if the 2012 presidential election

was held today, Obama could defeat Arizona's Republican Gov. Jan Brewer.

No one's never talked about her running. And he wouldn't beat her by much (44%-39%).

But Obama would still win. So that's gotta make him feel good these days.

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