Obama Struggles to Maintain High Approval Among Key Demographics

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Barack Obama Hispanic support: Image by Steve Jurvetson

A Gallup poll released April 9 has President Obama’s approval rating on a steady incline, at a 46 percent average for March. He had previously been polling with approval rates in the low 40s during summer and fall of 2011. Thus far in April, three day rolling averages compiled from Gallup daily tracking are indicating that Obama’s approval remains strong.

Obama vs. Romney in the Polls

When the sample was broken down by demographic, results indicated several key groups report higher approval of Obama than the national average. These included Blacks, Hispanics, women, young voters, and Americans earning less than $24,000 per year. Trends indicated that although Hispanics and Americans earning less than $24,000 per year still approve of the president at rates higher than the general population, the margin is becoming more narrow. The difference between Hispanics’ reported approval of Obama and that of the general population was 22 in January 2010, but was only 9 in March 2012. Similarly, the difference in Obama approval ratings among the lowest income Americans versus the general population was 11 points in January 2010, and is currently at 4 points in March 2012.

Gallup Polling Methodology

The monthly presidential approval rating report was gathered from Gallup daily tracking results compiled from March 1 to March 31, 2012.  The sample included 16,037 U.S. adults. Interviews were conducted on landline and cell phones, with minimum quotas of 600 landline respondents and 400 cell phone respondents per 1000 respondents.  Samples were weighted for demographics, phone status, and adults in household. The margin of error was +/- 1 percent.

Is Obama’s Overall Approval Affected by Key Demographics?

The indication that approval rates among Hispanics and low-income Americans are edging closer to the overall average may be somewhat alarming for Obama’s campaign. Since his approval ratings tend to be lower among Whites and high income earners, he relies on groups with which he has traditionally been popular to keep his overall approval rating strong.

Obama’s approval rating continues to increase, however. This may be attributed to increasing approval rates among women, and approval rates among Blacks that are 43 points higher than his national approval rating.

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