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President Barack Obama’s job approval rating has fallen to 49% in today’s Gallup poll — the first time his approval has dipped below 50% and a sharp decline from the 69% approval rating Gallup recorded when Obama entered office:

The ongoing, contentious debate over national healthcare reform has likely served as a drag on his public support, as have continuing economic problems. Americans are also concerned about the Obama administration’s reliance on government spending to solve the nation’s problems and the growing federal budget deficit. … Of the post-World War II presidents, Obama now is the fourth fastest to drop below the majority approval level, doing so in his 10th month on the job.

Today’s news comes on the heels of the Quinnipiac poll released earlier this week that showed Obama’s approval rating had slipped to 48% and a Fox News poll that put the figure at 46%.

But while those polls surveyed only registered voters, Gallup’s calculation is based on a broader sample of Americans, making it the most significant to date.

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