The results of the latest AP/GFK Poll show that since his party was thoroughly defeated in the 2010 midterm elections, President Barack Obama’s popularity continues to grow. The President’s job approval rating is now at 53%, which is not only a six point increase, but disapproval of Obama’s job performance has decreased 5 points to 46%.
According to the poll, Obama has seen a rise in the approval of his handling of a wide variety of issues. Approval of his handling of the economy has increased 6 points to 48%. Approval of Obama’s handling of the war in in Iraq has increased 3 points to 57%. Approval of Obama’s handling of health care is up 3 points to 51%. Approval of the President’s handling of terrorism is up 5 points to 62%. Approval of his handling of the environment is up 5 points to 63%. Approval of the President’s handling of the budget deficit is up 3 points to 39%.
President Obama also saw an increase in approval for his handling of the energy issue which was up 4 points to 60%. His approval rating on taxes increased 2 point to 48%. Approval of Obama’s handling of immigration rose 4 points to 47%. Approval of his handling of the war in Afghanistan increased by 6 points to 54%, and on foreign relations Obama’s approval rating rose 3 points to 61%. On unemployment Obama’s approval rating increased by 4 points to 47%, and on education Obama’s approval rating improved by 5 points to 64%. Gas prices were the only issue where Obama saw his approval rating drop.
Obama’s personal approval rating improved by four points to 59%, but he still trails his wife Michelle Obama (72%), and Sec. of State Hillary Clinton (68%) in terms of personal popularity. The numbers for Obama are impressive, and they demonstrate that as the economy improves, the overall perception of the job that he is doing on all other issues improves with it. On the vast majority of these issues, Obama’s position hasn’t changed. The difference is that as people feel better about their own life circumstances, they by extension also feel better about their president.
Since Obama no longer has to operate within the limitations of having to deal with the party infighting that came with a Democratically controlled Congress, the President is now free to move to the middle, which is where the American people like their presidents to be. Obama definitely has his momentum back, and this is the nightmare scenario that the Republican Party was trying to head off with their tactic of obstruction.
The economy is improving. Obama’s popularity is growing. Sarah Palin is imploding. The party has no leadership, and is looking at a 2012 field of recycled reject candidates battling for their nomination. History may note that the turning point of the Obama presidency will not be found in a legislative accomplishment, or in a moving speech, but a historic midterm election loss may have turned his presidency around.