WASHINGTON, March 12 (UPI) -- Rising gas prices are helping to sink President Obama's approval ratings on his handling of the U.S. economy, a Washington Post-ABC Poll indicated.
The results, released Monday indicated nearly two-thirds of Americans said they disapprove of the way Obama is handling the gas-price situation and just 26 percent approve of his work on the issue, his lowest rating in the poll.
Disapproval over his handling of gas prices also affected Obama's overall approval rating. Forty-six percent said they approved of the way Obama is doing his job and 50 percent expressed disapproval, results showed.
The poll wasn't all negative for Obama.
As many people now see reason for economic optimism as pessimism, and nearly half now say they sense that an economic recovery is under way. Also, Americans were split over whether Obama's economic program was making things better or worse.
Voters indicated they consider the GOP presidential race a contest between former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former U.S. Sen. Santorum of Pennsylvania, poll results showed. Among Republicans and GOP-leaning independents, 33 percent said they favor Romney and 29 percent said they prefer Santorum. Former House speaker Newt Gingrich had 14 percent and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas drew 12 percent.
Results are based on a nationwide telephone poll of 1,003 adults conducted Wednesday through Saturday. The margin of error is 4 percentage points.