Friday, January 4, 2013

Obama Begins 2013 on a Roll

Barack Obama, Time’s Person of the Year, is approaching his second inaugural address with an approval rating that he hasn’t seen since October 2009.  It was the November 2009 Republican victories in the gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey that marked the end of Obama’s honeymoon from the heady days of his 69 percent approval at his first inauguration.

Obama’s improvement in approval ratings since the election is not unusual.  Historically, presidents add a few points of approval after re-election (2 points for Clinton in 1996 and 6 for Reagan in 1984).

But a 6-point increase after the polarizing November election is impressive and no doubt reflects the President’s actions in the Newtown school shooting and their preference for his position in the fiscal cliff negotiations.  It’s not clear the New Year’s negotiations will provide another boost.  He ended 2012 at 53 percent approval.
Equally impressive is Obama’s recovery from his weak start in the presidential election.  He began 2012 with a 40 percent approval, near his all-time low of 38 percent approval on October 16th, 2011. That was one reason for Republican optimism that 2012 was going to be a good year.
It was the failed debt ceiling negotiations in July 2011 that marked the decline of Obama’s approval rating from the 50 percent range to the low 40 percent range.  Will the next crisis strengthen Obama or begin a decline?  

No comments: