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Poll: Independents disapprove of Obama job performance

More than half of U.S. voters who describe themselves as independents disapprove of President Barack Obama's job performance for the first time since he took office in January 2009, according to a poll released Monday.

The Marist Poll found that 57 percent of independent voters have a negative view of Obama's job performance, up from 44 percent in a Dec. 8 survey. Twenty-nine percent of independents approve, down from 41 percent, and 14 percent said they were unsure.

"The message of bipartisanship and appealing to independent voters doesn't seem to be reaching the groups he wants to be reaching," said Lee M. Miringoff, the director of Poughkeepsie-based Marist College's Marist Institute of Public Opinion. "This was a group that has been eroding for some time."

Obama is urging Democrats and Republicans to work together to end the impasse over U.S. health-care reform.

Long Island has significant numbers of voters who are not affiliated with any party. Nassau has more than 185,000 unaffiliated voters, compared to more than 340,000 Democrats and 330,000 Republicans, according to current and recent figures from the county board of elections. As of Feb. 3, Suffolk had nearly 220,000 unaffiliated voters, compared to 303,000 Democrats and 290,000 Republicans.

With Reid J. Epstein and Celeste Hadrick

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