NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The economy is regaining ground as the most important issue on Americans' minds, according to a new CNN poll released Tuesday.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll showed that 47% of those surveyed now rate the economy as the biggest challenge facing the nation, up from 40% in December.
The economy has been the biggest domestic challenge throughout President Obama's first year in office. But it had been declining steadily since March, when 63% said the economy was a top priority.
The renewed concern about the economy comes as the nation's job market took a turn for the worse in December. After adding 4,000 jobs in November, employers slashed payrolls by 85,000 last month. The nation's unemployment rate remains at 10%.
The poll was based on phone interviews with more than 1,000 adult Americans conducted between Friday -- when the employment numbers were announced -- and Sunday.
The poll also showed that only 44% of respondents approve of President Obama's handling of the economy, down from 46% about two months ago..
Respondents gave Obama low marks for other top domestic priorities, including health care policy and the national debt. Just 40% give him a thumbs-up on health care, and his approval rating on the federal deficit has plunged to 36%.
Americans are also growing critical of Obama's tax policies, with 53% opposed in the most recent poll versus 50% the last time respondents were asked, in October and November of last year.
Meanwhile, the poll also showed that respondents had a mixed view of president's first year in office, with 48% saying his presidency has been a failure so far and 47% saying that Obama has been a success.
Despite the declines, Obama's overall approval rating still stands at 51%. That's due partly to his personal popularity and decent ratings on foreign policy and national security issues.
According to the poll, two-thirds continue to believe that he has the leadership skills and personal characteristics that a president should have, and that may explain why his overall approval is so much higher than his rating on the issues of greatest concern to the public.
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