Over the past few weeks we have seen a small but significant improvement in President Obama’s poll numbers. Over the past 12 days the Gallup daily tracking poll found Obama’s job approval numbers have been net positive every day.
The latest NBC/WSJ poll found that Obama has a 53 percent job approval, with only 41 percent disapproval. That is a large gain from last month when the same poll found him in negative territory with 45 percent approval and 48 percent disapproval.
In addition, the newest PPP poll found that Obama is now at his strongest position against the top Republican contenders in years.
PPP’s monthly look ahead to next year’s Presidential race finds Barack Obama in his best position against the major Republican contenders since 2009.
The GOP hopefuls who would make it most competitive against Obama continue to be Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, each of whom he leads by 5 points. Against Romney that’s Obama’s largest advantage since December of 2009 and against Huckabee it’s his biggest lead since November of that year. As hyper as people are getting about Obama’s improved approval numbers right now it’s still worth noting that his performance against each of these folks is worse than what he posted against John McCain in 2008. He’s in a stronger position than he was throughout 2010 but he’s still in a weaker position than where he started his Presidency and that’s something that should probably be kept in perspective.
For the most part, Obama’s approval numbers, now just under two years out from the 2012 election, mean very little. After all, Democrats were polling very well in January 2009 and we know how things turned out last November.
It is possible, however, that Obama’s improving poll numbers could have an impact on the Republican primary. There might be some potential candidates, like Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who were thinking about running, but are now more inclined not to because Obama has started looking less vulnerable.