Washington: US President Barack Obama has been rated higher by the citizens of the country for tackling foreign issues than those of domestic and financial, according to a national opinion poll.

Forty-six percent support the President’s handling of foreign affairs and 44 per of his handling of Libya, while his highest rating on three domestic issues is 40 per cent on health-care policy, said the Gallup in the latest opinion poll on Friday.

The survey was conducted from March 25 to 27.

Obama's approval ratings on all five issues –- foreign affairs, Libya, health care, economy and federal budget deficit -- are below 50 per cent, as is his overall job approval rating, which is 47 per cent.

After Obama received relatively positive evaluations for his economic stewardship early in his presidency, his ratings on the economy have held below 40 per cent since early 2010, and are currently at 39 percent.

Since he was elected during the 2008 economic downturn, Obama's handling of the economy could arguably be the most critical issue for how Americans evaluate his
presidency leading up to his 2012 re-election bid and how historians judge his legacy in the future, the Gallup said.

The trend lines are similar for Obama's approval on foreign affairs and health-care policy, with higher ratings early in his presidency, declines from late 2009 into 2010, and more stable scores in recent months, it said.

Obama's approval rating for handling the budget deficit, now at 33 per cent, is the only issue rating to show a significant increase since the last update in February, it said.

"It is not clear whether that increase represents a more positive assessment of his recent work on the budget or perhaps just a return to prior levels as the issue has taken a back seat to news about international crises in Japan and Libya.