Obama rebounding?

It depends on one’s definition of “rebound,” as well as which poll one considers.  Politico looks at today’s CNN poll showing Barack Obama’s job-approval numbers rising over the last several weeks, showing now even at 48% between approval and disapproval, and suggests that the President is rebounding after the midterms:

President Barack Obama may be staging a comeback in the eyes of the American people, a new poll suggests.

In a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Monday, 48 percent of Americans say they approve of how Obama is handling his job, while 48 percent disapprove.

The disapproval number is the lowest it’s been since May, when it was 46 percent in the same poll. His disapproval reached as high as 54 percent in September and clocked in at 50 percent in November.

The president also gets more support for his policies than at any time since mid-2009. Fifty-five percent of Americans said the country would be headed in the right direction under policies proposed by Obama. In May 2009, 63 percent of those surveyed said Obama’s policies would lead the country in the right direction. In January, the last time the question was asked on the poll, 49 percent said his policies were taking the country in the right direction.

The poll itself has some problems, not the least of which is a lack of sample demographics.  CNN has a habit of overpolling Democrats in its polls, although not as bad (usually) as the Washington Post/ABC or the CBS polls do.  The other problem with CNN’s survey is that it surveyed adults, not registered or likely voters.  That is the least reliable sampling method when it comes to predictive modeling — and the poll results to which CNN and Politico refer in this series prior to this were almost certainly from registered or likely voter surveys.

CNN’s poll also differs in direction from two other polls.  One may dismiss Fox News as a biased source, but at least they produced their demographic breakdown when they released the poll showing Obama down to 40/51, a slight drop from the previous 41/50 after the election.  If Fox doesn’t suit one’s taste, then look at Marist, which also found Obama going in the opposite direction, 42/50 — and that had a partisan split in the sample with a D+7.

It’s a little early to declare a rebound.  However, if Obama does decide to seriously pursue a triangulation strategy and starts lining up behind pro-growth policies, he will likely get some lift in the polls for doing so.  He’ll have to do it more convincingly than he did with the tax deal, though.