Perusing a batch of ugly poll numbers for President Obama back in August, I pointed out that there were enough nuggets of hopeful news for him that he could still pull off an electoral victory. One of those was his exceptionally high personal approval ratings. I believed this to be key to an Obama resurgence, because people who have been disappointed and were disillusioned by him still trust him enough to give him a chance. But he’s going to have to fight for that chance.
I was reminded of this reading Gene Robinson’s column this morning on the Republican crack-up over the payoll tax cut extension. “I’m convinced that Obama’s fiery barnstorming in favor of his American Jobs Act has played a big role,” he writes. “People are hearing his message.”
New polls out this week show that the president’s retooled message found a responsive audience. Obama’s job approval ratings in August were terrible. Pew Research Center put it at 43 percent. The Gallup weekly average poll had it at 40 percent. Fast forward to this week. Both The Post-ABC News poll and the CNN-ORC International poll put the president’s approval rating at 49 percent. Since his change in tactics, Obama is now viewed more favorably than congressional Republican on handling the major issues facing the country. And his personal approval ratings remain high. The CNN-ORC International survey puts it at 76 percent.
Such high personal favorables, plus the low-esteem in which the Republicans in Congress are held, means the president’s advantages are plentiful and formidable. Sure, the raucous Republican caucus has aided in its own misfortune. But as it learned this week, when Obama fights he comes out on top.