Obama Approval on the Rise, According to New WaPO/ABC Poll


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Will Obama’s High Approval Stick?

Approval of Congress is at a record low, which may be beneficial for President Obama’s approval as he publicly battles with Congressional Republicans. Photo credit: Executive Office of the President of the United States

The results of this poll show leaps for Obama in his general and economic approval ratings. He also surged ahead of congressional Republicans in all categories where respondents were asked to select who would lead better, including job creation, handling of the economy, and handling of taxes. When asked who was more trusted to protect the middle class, Obama or Republicans in Congress, Obama was favored 50 percent to 35 percent. However, the poll was conducted during an intense political climate. Issues such as the payroll tax cut debate and the return of troops from Iraq may have resulted in an Obama boost, and it is unknown whether it will be strong enough to keep him on an upward trend in the polls.

Interpreting Presidential Polling Results

The WP/ABC poll seems to be consistent with other recent polling data, as the CNN poll conducted during the same time period matches the approval rating, and has Obama’s disapproval rating one point higher. When these two polls are compared to others conducted since December 8, there is some inconsistency, however. A Gallup poll that surveyed respondents from December 17-19 indicated 43 percent approval and 50 percent disapproval, a -7 point spread. An AP poll conducted December 8-12 was similarly bleak for the president, with 44 percent approving and 54 percent disapproving. Rasmussen and Reuters also polled between December 8 and December 19, and found more disapproval than approval, but the spreads were thin, -4 and -1 respectively.  It has been months since approval has outweighed disapproval in any major polling, so the fact that this was recently achieved in several polls, and the negative spread is dwindling in two others, does indicate a trend in approval rate recovery for Obama. However, the long term effect remains to be seen.


Post Politics. Washington Post/ABC News Poll. Accessed December 21, 2011.

ABC News. Gingrich/Romney go to Tie, More See Obama as Competitive. Accessed December 21, 2011.

RealClearPolitics. President Obama Job Approval. Accessed December 21, 2011.

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