US President Barack Obama's approval rating plunged to 41% in a new poll on Monday, underlining that despite improving jobs data, his prospects for November's election remain uncertain.
After several months in which signs of economic recovery appeared to enhance his political standing, Obama again appears to be facing a tough political environment, possibly due to rising gasoline prices.
In the New York Times/CBS News survey, Obama's approval hit 41%, down nine percent from the 50% threshold -- which incumbent president's generally need to win reelection -- recorded just a month ago.
Forty-seven percent of those asked disapproved of the job Obama was doing.
However, Obama fared better against potential Republican presidential candidates, beating the party's front runner Mitt Romney by 47% to 44% and another Republican Rick Santorum by 48% to 44%.
Earlier, a Washington Post/ABC News poll also registered a drop in Obama's approval rating, though the decrease was not quite so severe.
Only 46% of those asked approved of the way Obama is handling his job and 50% disapproved as he took a hit from rising gas prices.
The situation was a reversal from early February when 50% approved of the president's performance and 46% disapproved.
Two-thirds of those asked said they disapproved with the way Obama was handling rising pump prices which now average nearly four dollars a gallon (3.8 liters).
Obama has repeatedly acknowledged that the rising price of gasoline is causing new pain for many American families still hurting following the deepest recession since the Great Depression, but says there is no "quick fix."