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The right, left, and middle on Obama

From NBC's Mark Murray
Our NBC/WSJ poll last week showed that President Obama's approval rating had dipped below 50% for the first time since taking office. Where has the biggest drop come from -- the left (which is disappointed over the Afghanistan escalation and the exclusion of the public option from the Senate health bill), the right, or the middle?

There is no doubt that Obama's Democratic/liberal support has eroded. In the February NBC/WSJ poll taken after his inauguration, 88% of Democrats and 87% of liberals approved of his job. By June, those numbers, respectively, had declined slightly to 85% and 83%. And now it's 79% and 79%. As we wrote last week, that drop probably is the difference between Obama being at (or above) 50% and being below it.

However, the biggest decline has come from independents. In February, 58% of indies approved of Obama's job; in June, it was 46%; and now it's 40% -- an 18-point drop.

As for Republicans, 21% approved of his job back in February; in June, it was an identical 21%; and now it's 14% -- a seven-point drop.