Obama's Upwardly Mobile Approval Rating

The Atlantic
Obama's Upwardly Mobile Approval Rating
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Obama's Upwardly Mobile Approval Rating

Obama's approval rating is creeping up, while he is blamed for the economy in another poll, and leads Minnesota in yet another. Meanwhile, Romney's time in business is seen as a plus for the economy. Here's our guide to today's polls and why they matter.

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Findings: Over the last three months, the fourteenth quarter of his term as president, President Obama's approval moved up to 46.8 percent, which is an improvement after he a low of 41 percent in the three months ending last November, the 11th quarter of his term. 

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Pollster: Gallup

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Methodology: 45,949 adults living in all 50 states and D.C. interviewed via telephone as part of Gallup Daily tracking between April 20 and July 19. The maximum margin of error for the total sample is +/-1 percentage points. 

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Why it matters: This could mean good things for Obama. Maybe. According to Gallup: "The recent and continuing improvement in his approval rating, though, is a positive sign for his re-election prospects, but it remains below the 50 percent level that virtually assures a president of a second term in office." He looks better than Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush did in this period before losing reelection.

Caveat: It all depends on how this trend progresses. If the approval rating continues to go up it could have a better chance of winning the presidency again, Gallup says. If it goes down a second term "would be very much in doubt." 


Findings: Voters think Romney's business background "would cause him to make good decisions, not bad ones" in handling the economy 63 percent to 29 percent. 

Pollster: USA Today/Gallup 

Methodology: 1,030 adults were surveyed Thursday through Sunday. The margin of error is +/-4 percentage points. 

Why it matters: This poll — unlike others — appears to show that the Obama campaign's attacks on Romney's tenure at Bain Capital are not having the intended effect. USA Today notes: "The findings raise questions about Obama's strategy of targeting Bain's record in outsourcing jobs and hammering Romney for refusing to commit to releasing more than two years of his tax returns. Instead, Americans seem focused on the economy, where disappointment with the fragile recovery and the 8.2% unemployment rate are costing the president." 

Caveat: Obama beats Romney in likability, understanding "the problems Americans face in their daily lives," and being "honest and trustworthy." 


Findings: Obama is considered the person most responsible for the country's "economic woes:" 34 percent of those polled blame him, 23 percent blame Congress, 20 percent blame financial institutions and corporations, and 18 percent blame George W. Bush. 

Pollster: Pulse Opinion Research for The Hill

Methodology: 1,000 likely voters were polled July 19. The margin of error is 3 percentage points. 

Why it matters: The blame placed on Obama could mean trouble for him. According to The Hill: "The results highlight the reelection challenge Obama faces amid dissatisfaction with his first-term performance on the economy." A majority surveyed — 53 percent — also believe that Obama has "taken the wrong actions and slowed the recovery down." 

Caveat: It's not just Obama. A majority — 57 percent — also think Republicans in Congress have "done the wrong things" when it comes to the economy. 


Findings: Obama leads Romney 46 percent to 40 percent in Minnesota.

Pollster: SurveyUSA for KSTP-TV

Methodology: 552 likely voters were surveyed between July 17 and July 19. 74 percent of likely voters were interviewed on a home telephone, 26 percent were "shown a questionnaire on their smartphone, tablet or other electronic device." The margin of error for the question as to who respondents would vote for if the election were today is +/-4.3 percent. 

Why it matters: Minnesota could be considered a swing state. In The New Republic today Nate Cohn writes: "over the last few weeks, there are a few signs that Minnesota might be inching towards competitiveness." 

Caveat: According to KSTP-TV's Facebook page, Obama's lead has been halved since February. 

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