Until now, there hasn’t been much indication in national polling that Barack Obama’s embrace of class-warfare rhetoric had gained him much standing with the electorate. On September 8, when Obama gave his jobs speech to a joint session of Congress and kicked off his new populist strategy, the Real Clear Politics poll average for Obama’s job approval was 43.8/51.6. Yesterday’s was 44.0/50.9, hardly any change at all, and the chart shows a more stable period than anything preceding it this year.
Today, however, Quinnipiac reports a moderate boost in Obama’s standing to 47/49, up from last month’s 41/55:
President Barack Obama’s job approval rating is up, from a negative 41 – 55 percent October 5, to a split today with 47 percent approving and 49 percent disapproving in a Quinnipiac University poll released today. The president has leads of 5 to 16 percentage points over likely Republican challengers.
Voters also are divided 47 – 49 percent on whether Obama deserves reelection, compared to last month, when voters said 54 – 42 percent he did not deserve reelection.
Not so fast, says National Journal’s Steven Shepard:
Obama “seems to be improving in voters’ eyes almost across-the-board,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “He scores big gains among the groups with whom he has had the most problems — whites and men. Women also shift from a five-point negative to a four-point positive.”
In addition to his improved approval rating, Obama also leads Romney, his closest GOP challenger, by five points, 47 percent to 42 percent, turning around a four-point deficit a month ago. Obama posts double-digit leads — and clears the crucial 50-percent threshold — over Cain (50 percent to 40 percent), Gingrich (52 percent to 37 percent) and Perry (52 percent to 36 percent).
Still, there are indications that the poll could just be a blip. There is little change in the crosstabs by party from last month, when Romney led Obama by four points. Independents broke for Romney by five points in each survey, yet, overall, there was a nine-point swing. It simply appears that this month’s sample is significantly more Democratic.
Shepard asked Quinnipiac to release their demographics in both surveys to check sampling. So far, they haven’t responded. However, if the results by party in both polls are identical and yet Obama gained in popularity, then Shepard is probably correct that the new sample included more Democrats at the expense of either Republicans, independents, or both.
Among Republican primary voters, Herman Cain has a significant lead over Mitt Romney, 30/23, and beats Romney 47/39 in a two-man race for the nomination. However, almost all of this polling took place before the Politico story about two settlements over harassment claims at the National Restaurant Association. So far that story doesn’t seem to be gaining traction among GOP primary voters and might even be attracting support for Cain as he fights the national media. This Q-poll will serve as a pretty good baseline for future polling to determine whether Cain ends up damaged or helped by the imbroglio this week.