Before the midterms, the White House insisted that they wouldn’t need any course corrections regardless of the outcome. By the end of last week, Barack Obama had begun openly discussing course corrections and talking about the need to compromise with Republicans. Gallup’s tracking poll shows that the talk may have given Obama some lift, but not much:
President Barack Obama earned a 47% approval rating from the American public in Gallup Daily tracking from Friday through Sunday, slightly higher than his 44% approval rating at the start of the week, and his 43% approval rating in the three days prior to and including Tuesday’s midterm elections.
At 47%, his latest approval rating is also near the top of the 41% to 48% range within which it has varied since August.
Any of several political and economic events in the news since late last week could account for the slight improvement. Obama made a post-election speech last Wednesday in which he struck a mostly conciliatory tone, stocks rallied late in the week to their highest levels since September 2008, partly spurred by Thursday’s better-than-expected jobs report, and Obama’s 10-day diplomatic tour of Asia began with a much-publicized state visit to India.
Gallup warns that the time for popping corks in the West Wing hasn’t arrived yet:
Despite the uptick in approval for the president in the last few days, Obama’s average approval rating for the week ending Nov. 7 is 45%, identical to his average for all of October. …
At 45%, President Obama’s latest weekly approval rating is essentially the same as it has been in recent weeks. However, his ratings in the second half of the week are up slightly over those conducted in the first half, spanning the election. If sustained over the next few days, this would buck the pattern seen for recent presidents whose parties suffered major midterm losses.
That’s a big if, and there’s another one as well. If Obama actually experiences a little recovery in his ratings, it will be because he had to move back to the center, and not because Obama and the White House gave a “stay the course” signal. The other if relates to what reason this bump occurred. His decision to go abroad gave Obama a chance to act presidential (and get out of the US), which would normally give an embattled Chief Executive a lift anyway.
In the end, though, a Slurpee Bounce to 47% is not going to suggest an end to Obama’s political woes.