Washington (CNN) - As President Barack Obama stood before cameras Monday afternoon to offer a reassuring assessment of the nation's economy, a new national survey conducted over the weekend indicates that the president's approval rating has held steady.
But according to the CNN/ORC International Poll, only a third of Americans give Obama a thumbs up on how he's handling the country's number one problem - the economy.
Forty-four percent of people questioned in the survey say they approve of the job the president is doing in the White House, virtually identical to the 45 percent Obama got in CNN's last two polls in mid-July and early August.
"That's an indication that the fallout from last week's debt ceiling agreement, Friday night's credit rating downgrade, and last week's stock market downturn have not affected overall views of President Obama so far," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
The survey was conducted by ORC International Friday through Sunday, partially before and most after Friday night's downgrading of the country's credit rating by Standard and Poor's.
Not surprisingly, the poll indicates that the economy remains the number-one issue to most Americans, with nearly six in ten saying it is the most important problem facing the country today. And the most important economic issue remains unemployment. The federal deficit does not rank nearly as high, and only 2 percent say the stock market is the top economic problem facing the country.
"That may explain why Obama has made such an effort to turn attention away from the debt ceiling and the market's reaction to the S&P downgrade and concentrate on the job situation. Another reason might be his low marks on economic issues," adds Holland.
Just 37 percent approve of how Obama's handling unemployment. Only one in three approve of how he is handling the economy, down from 41 percent in May. But he still gets high marks on terrorism and an even split on foreign affairs, suggesting that Obama's record as economic steward is balanced by his role as commander-in-chief.
Another finding of note is that criticism of Obama is increasingly coming from the left, not the right.
Sixteen percent of all Americans say they disapprove of Obama because he has not been liberal enough - more than double the number who felt that way in May. Thirty-six percent say they disapprove of Obama because he has been too liberal.
The poll's release comes as the president called the country's problems "eminently solvable" despite last week's downgrade of its credit rating by Standard & Poor's.
In remarks to reporters that were added to his daily schedule, Obama noted the downgrade from AAA to AA+ announced Friday occurred because "they doubted our political system's ability to act" following the grueling negotiations with congressional leaders that preceded last week's agreement on a debt ceiling increase.
To address the problem, Obama said, the nation needs to tackle its budget deficits over the long term. He will be presenting his ideas for how to proceed in coming weeks as a special congressional committee set up under the debt ceiling agreement begins its work, he said.
The president also said that "no matter what some agency may say, we've always been and always will be a triple-A country."
The CNN poll was conducted by telephone with 1,008 adult Americans questioned. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.
- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.