Obama overall approval up to 54%, but on issues still mired

posted at 11:52 am on January 18, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Barack Obama got a bounce on overall approval coming off of last week’s high-profile memorial event in Tucson, Arizona, going to his highest job performance rating since last April in the Washington Post/ABC poll — but that was mainly driven from personal approval. Jake Tapper notes, though, that his job approval on key issues remains mired at pre-midterm levels.  Plus, it appears that neither the Post nor ABC will release the sample demographics:

Aided by his response to the Tucson shootings, popular lame-duck legislation and a hint of economic relief, Barack Obama has matched his highest job approval rating in more than a year in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, with his ratings for empathy likewise rebounding. …

Fifty-four percent now approve of Obama’s job performance, up 5 points from last month and 8 points above his career low in September. And given overwhelming approval of his response to the Tucson attack, Americans by an 18-point margin, 58-40 percent, say Obama “understands the problems of people like you.” That’s up from a mere 2-point split, 50-48 percent, in September.

Obama got a bounce on the soft evaluations, especially on personals, but given the stage on which he operated last Wednesday, a five-point bounce in overall job approval to his pre-Gulf spill level seems a little weak.  Tapper warns the White House not to pop the champale as he explains why:

But it is hardly time for the president to pop open the champale. While the percentage of those saying the country is heading in the right direction is up 7 points from last month, a whopping 60 percent believe the US is headed seriously off on the wrong track.

And the president is still under 50% when it comes to his handling of the economy, which 72% of all Americans say should be the highest priority for him and Congress.

Perhaps the most troubling data point for the president – he and the Republicans are tied for the first time in trust to handle health care, with trust in Obama dropping 9 points since last month to a new low, and trust in the GOP gaining 4 points, rough news for the president in advance of the vote this week in the House to repeal the health care law.

In other words, Obama hasn’t done anything to address the underlying issues that pushed his job approval downward.  As the new session of Congress opens, voters will turn their attention back to policy, and Obama doesn’t do nearly as well there as he does on the dais.  On the issues, Obama has barely moved since December:

  • Economy: 46/51, up from 43/54
  • Health care: 43/52, down from 45/50
  • Afghanistan: 49/41, up from 45/46
  • Deficit: 43/52, up from 38/55
  • Taxes: 50/44, down from 51/40 (in August)

Plus, it’s worth pointing out a couple of issues in the poll itself.  The pollster surveyed 1053 adults, not registered voters, which is consistent within the WaPo/ABC series but generally produces non-predictive results.  More importantly, this is the second survey in a row in which the Post and ABC have failed to report the demographics of its respondents, especially on party affiliation.  This series has an extremely poor record in representing the current state of the electorate.  For instance, in their October survey before the midterms when most pollsters try hardest for accuracy, the sample had a ten-point advantage for the Democrats when Gallup and Rasmussen had put the field at closer to dead even.  This caused the Post and ABC to report that Democrats had begun a “modest” comeback, a meme that got utterly discredited a month later as the GOP scored the biggest midterm victory in 72 years.

Taking this poll result at face value, Obama may have gotten a bump that relates mainly to his personal likability, assuming that the sample wasn’t tilted even more egregiously for Democrats, and no real increase in support for his policies.  As policies come back to the fore with Congress getting back to work, expect the bounce to dissipate quickly.

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The MSM will co0ntinue to lie, smear and distort the GOP, and sing Hosanna about Barry and whitewash all his missteps and ineptitude. Winning in 2012 is not a given. work to end sure the country does not suffer irreparable damage by having a Barry second term.

bayview on January 18, 2011 at 4:06 PM

Unless they release their demographics of their sampling, this poll is as meaningless as anyone with an opinion making up numbers. If they are sampling dems at 10% more than independents or R’s, then we know Obama’s real approval rating is in the low 40’s.

karenhasfreedom on January 18, 2011 at 4:32 PM

The MSM brainwashing of America continues.

America continues to be pushed over the cliff by the MSM and NOTHING HAPPENS. Pathetic really.

The MSM must be destroyed.

Crux Australis on January 18, 2011 at 5:04 PM

Fool’s bounce…believed by fools

winston on January 18, 2011 at 5:17 PM

More importantly, this is the second survey in a row in which the Post and ABC have failed to report the demographics of its respondents, especially on party affiliation.

In other words, more MSM folks wearing out their kneepads paying lip service to The One. *shrug*

Midas on January 18, 2011 at 5:18 PM

I think “bounces” are really all about a respite from negativism.

I don’t think Democracy works well when the energy is totally negative.

And boy, has it been negative.

AnninCA on January 18, 2011 at 11:58 AM

You’re not really suggesting that there was a respite in (much less absence of) negativity last week, are you?


Midas on January 18, 2011 at 5:21 PM

Plus, it appears that neither the Post nor ABC will release the sample demographics:

Surprise, surprise. Probably 60/15/25 DRI.

ddrintn on January 18, 2011 at 5:25 PM

Plus, it appears that neither the Post nor ABC will release the sample demographics:

Ding! Ding! Ding!

Bogus, manipulated poll. ABC? Come on! ABC is virtually the head of the Obama propaganda dept.

American Elephant on January 18, 2011 at 5:29 PM

I have always asserted that Obama’s election was really about America righting the wrongs of slavery.

I know that’s probably bizarre to many people, but I do think he is pivotal and will lead to a better country.

And now that he’s clearly “decoupled” from the liberal agenda, his reelection will be even “purer.”

AnninCA on January 18, 2011 at 12:07 PM

What are you smoking, and did you bring enough for the rest of the class?

He is certainly ‘pivotal’, but not in a good way. Not all ‘change’ is ‘good’. Pivoting from success to disaster is bad, but certainly ‘pivotal’.

He’ll lead to a ‘better country’? I simply don’t know what to say in response to that as we sit here and discuss the fact that we’re careening headlong towards financial disaster and collapse as a nation, ready to kill each other in political rage, etc. Good grief.

“Decoupled from the liberal agenda…” You, dear, are decoupled from reality. I wish I could say I was only kidding.

Midas on January 18, 2011 at 5:30 PM

I wish it was a more reliable pollster. Until it comes from Rasmussen I’ll take this as ABC and WAPO stroking their baby.

Key West Reader on January 18, 2011 at 5:36 PM

Where are they getting the 54% in the democratic Senate?

mixplix on January 18, 2011 at 5:42 PM

I would honestly like to know what % of that 54 just suffer white guilt.

darwin-t on January 18, 2011 at 5:51 PM

I expected a bounce as now he has to cooperate a bit due to the GOP taking the House.

It makes him look more reasonable.

Don’t worry, though – he’ll F it all up again soon enough.

RedNewEnglander on January 18, 2011 at 6:10 PM

I can hear Obama thinking about getting to 64% and asking right now — “Which of us is most expendible?”

unclesmrgol on January 18, 2011 at 6:26 PM

I have always asserted that Obama’s election was really about America righting the wrongs of slavery.

AnninCA on January 18, 2011 at 12:07 PM

Absolute worst way to go about it — elect a small minded Chicago politician who can’t get past how different he is.

unclesmrgol on January 18, 2011 at 6:29 PM

You gotta be Effin kidding me, right? So, let me get this straight. A crazed lunatic shoots up a crowd at a grocery store parking lot in Tucson. Dead include a federal judge and a 9 year old girl. One congresswoman lies in serious condition from a bullet through the head. The media spins the story and points blame at the tea party, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, etc. 0bama says nothing about the media’s blood libel, then later in the week goes to some university near the shooting and makes a speech during what can only be described as a political rally (replete with T Shirts) in which he admonishes the American public about using non-PC rhetoric. And you’re telling me his approval ratings are actually improving?

long_cat on January 18, 2011 at 8:56 PM

Obama overall approval up to 54%

Folks finally just accepting their fate and resigning themselves to Socialistic mediocrity?

Not really all that shocked here.

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 18, 2011 at 9:54 PM

At some point, the takers will out-number the workers. They will continue to themselves benefits, and more will see the advantage of give-me. When the government runs out of other people’s money, but mugging has become birth rights, the government will borrow and pass the buck to the future generations to stay in power, like California or Barry’s America. When the debts becomes unsustainable, can you speak Greek in America?

bayview on January 19, 2011 at 12:46 AM

Fifty-four percent of what? How many did they count twice to arrive at this number? And how many of what exactly?? Zombies don’t count and shouldn’t be able to vote either…

Sherman1864 on January 19, 2011 at 4:14 AM


Obama 2012! – says who? Newt and Crappyhummer!

TheAlamos on January 19, 2011 at 9:03 AM

Wow… 54%…. sure looks like the Propaganda Arm of the Government Media has a way to go.. When their ilk worked their magic of a 90% approval of ole Adolph in the 30’s

donabernathy on January 19, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Well I still can’t stand the arrogant sob(oops civilly put-substitute know it all please)

jeanie on January 19, 2011 at 12:30 PM

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