In Gallup’s latest tracking poll, Obama’s support has reached 49%. At least for now, the president’s support is no longer “under water” – approval is no longer lower than disapproval – and Obama’s overall standing is now at its highest point since the strike on Osama bin Laden.
Jonathan Bernstein had a good piece putting the latest results in context.
There’s no magic number for where approval has to be for him to be assured of re-election, but generally people estimate that 48% or so approval is probably around the break-even mark, and a low 50s rating makes re-election very likely.
Keeping in mind the caveat that things can always turn around as events change, Obama’s approval pattern looks somewhat similar, if not quite as good, as those of Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, with approval moving into positive territory early in the re-election year. The direction is what counts.
What’s more, it looks as if Obama is now on the verge of doing better than the two most recent presidents who weren’t reelected – George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter – were faring at this point in their first terms.
I’d add one related thought. When the new Gallup numbers are released daily, I take note of the numbers for Obama and the Republican presidential candidates, but I also pay attention to the “U.S. Economic Confidence Index,” reflecting whether Americans believe the economy is improving or deteriorating. Yesterday’s Gallup report showed this figure reaching its best point in a year.
The president’s growing support, in other words, isn’t an accident – as Americans’ feelings about the economy improve, this clearly affects their attitudes about the president.