President Barack Obama’s Approval Ratings Go Up

The Republicans continue to fight for the primary nomination and the biggest benefactor of their squabbles may be President Obama. This month, two in five Americans (40%) give the President positive ratings for the overall job he is doing while three in five (60%) give him negative ratings.

This is up from last month when 36% gave the President positive marks and 64% gave him negative ones. This is also the highest the President has been since May of last year.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,056 U.S. adults surveyed online between Feb. 6 and 13, 2012 by custom market research firm Harris Interactive. The survey results were announced Thursday, Feb. 16.

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Looking at the possible swing states for the general election (Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia) three in five Americans in these nine states (61%) give the President negative ratings while two in five (39%) give him positive marks.

Not surprisingly, just 8% of Republicans and 15% of Conservatives give President Obama positive ratings. Among Independents just over three in five (63%) give him negative ratings but just over half of Moderates (55%) feel the same.

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Among the President’s party, three-quarters of Democrats (74%) give President Obama positive ratings and one-quarter (26%) give him negative ratings. Among liberals, seven in ten (70%) give the President positive marks and 30% give him negative ratings.

Another thing that continues to rise is the direction Americans think the country is going. This month over one-third of U.S. adults (34%) say things are going in the right direction while two-thirds (66%) say things are going off on the wrong track.

In January, just over one-quarter of Americans (27%) said things in the country were going in the right direction while 73% said things were going off on the wrong track. This is also the highest percentage of people who think the country is going in the right direction since spring of 2011.

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As President Obama’s approval ratings inch up, so do his re-election chances. If the election for president were to be held today, it is close with 45% of Americans likely to vote for him, 48% unlikely to vote for him and 7% who are not at all sure.

Last month, over half of U.S. adults (52%) said they would be unlikely to vote to re-elect the President and 41% said they would be likely to do so. Looking at this by party, four in five Republicans (82%) and half of Independents (51%) would be unlikely to vote for him, while four in five Democrats (79%) would be likely to do so.

In the likely 2012 swing states, 51% say they would be unlikely to vote for the President while 43% say they would be likely to vote for him.

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When it comes to what Americans think will happen on Election Day, the numbers are moving in the President’s direction as well. Last month, in January, over one-third of Americans (36%) thought President Obama would be re-elected while 41% thought he would not be re-elected. This month, 46% of U.S. adults now believe he will be re-elected while 37% say that he will not be.

The Harris Poll suggests there seems to be a sense of optimism among Americans and that feeling is translating into positive news for President Obama. Some good economic news and a stellar few weeks for the stock markets can do wonders for an incumbent president’s approval ratings and the White House is probably hoping this news.

Photo courtesy: White House /

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Rakesh Raman