Bounce: Obama's approval rating now above 50% overall -- including among investors

It’s not just one poll and it’s not just liberal polls. Rasmussen has him at 52 percent among likely voters, his highest rating since October 2009. CNN puts him at 55 percent in a poll of all adults, his best showing since November 2009. And Bloomberg places him at 53 percent among … investors?

Fifty-three percent of investors now view him favorably, up from 49 percent in November, reversing a yearlong deterioration in perceptions of the U.S. president, according to a quarterly poll of 1,000 Bloomberg customers who are investors, traders or analysts conducted Jan. 20-24. The turnaround follows Obama’s conclusion of a free-trade agreement with South Korea and a lame-duck legislative deal to extend Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy…

U.S. investors and their foreign counterparts continue to hold divergent views of Obama, as they have since the quarterly poll began in July 2009. While 56 percent of U.S. investors say they are pessimistic about the administration’s impact on the investment climate, that is an improvement from November, when 68 percent said they were pessimistic.

Obama’s personal popularity has dropped slightly among U.S. investors, with 64 percent viewing him unfavorably, compared with 62 percent in November. Among European investors, 66 percent view him favorably, up from 60 percent in November; among Asian investors, 58 percent hold positive views, up from 56 percent.

How’d he do it? The tax cuts deal, obviously, plus a Dow that’s on the cusp of 12,000 and signaling to Wall Street that he’ll be friendlier to business by bringing on a former CEO like Daley as his chief of staff. His speech in Tucson was good too. And as Dave Weigel argues, some of it’s simply the machinery of American politics at work. Clinton, after all, got a similar bounce after the Democrats were destroyed in 1994; having sent a message to the White House in the midterms, the public’s seemingly willing to back off a bit on the president and see whether it’s been received. Call it Barry’s second honeymoon:

Should we be surprised by this? No. This is what happens when Americans punish a charismatic liberal president and he acts suitably chastened. Bill Clinton’s Democrats were devastated in 1994, and he had a much less productive lame-duck session with which to win back liberal support. Yet a CNN/Time poll released on Jan. 8, 1995 gave Clinton a sizable bounce, from 41 percent job approval to 47 percent; disapproval fell from 49 percent to 44 percent…

It gets worse. There’s not much coordination yet between Obama’s own approval numbers and the performance of Democratic candidates. Obama had positive approval numbers in November 2009, when Democrats lost the governors’ mansions in Virginia and New Jersey. He had positive approval numbers in January 2010, when Scott Brown blazed past the handshake-phobic Martha Coakley and won a U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts. He had mildly positive approval numbers in the spring of 2010, after health care reform passed, and slipped into the 40s by the midterms, as the economy didn’t recover.

He might be picking up a point or two from favorable contrasts with conservatives as well: In the Bloomberg poll, almost three-quarters of investors view Palin unfavorably, and as Weigel notes, last week’s WaPo poll had the tea party movement’s unfavorable rating at 52 percent, an all-time high. Insofar as the “rhetoric” narrative has taken hold after the Arizona shootings — and for some, it assuredly has — Obama benefits from his Tucson speech. In fact, in the poll of polls, his approval’s now almost five points above the water line. Change.

Fortunately, he’s still annoying all the right people; watch below to see why I’m rooting for the Packers in two weeks. Exit question: Will his bounce get bigger after tomorrow night’s SOTU? Oddly, it might depend on John Boehner.