According to a new poll, President Obama’s favorability rating has increased by four points to its highest level since 2013.
The new Gallup poll revealed that President Obama’s favorability rating remains on the rise. Obama’s favorability rating increased to 49% in March to 53% today. The President spent all of 2014 with a rating under 50%, and his current numbers are his highest since September 2013. Personal favorability is not the same as a job approval rating, but the President’s job approval ratings have also been steadily improving as the economy has continued to grow.
Independents are leading the surge in President Obama’s personal approval rating. Obama’s favorability rating has increased by five points (47% to 52%) since February. Obama’s favorability rating has also increased by four points (86% to 90%) with Democrats over the same period. The increase in support among Democrats suggests that the President has not been damaged by the disagreement within his party over trade.
Pundits and the media’s conventional wisdom suggest that President Obama’s job approval rating will be critical to the 2016 Democratic nominee’s chances of victory. This nugget of false knowledge was debunked when Obama cruised to reelection in 2012 as the press claimed that his job approval ratings meant that he was going to struggle.
Many voters support a candidate because of personal likability. During the 2012 election, Obama’s personal favorability ratings were always much higher than those of Mitt Romney. If President Obama maintains or grows his personal favorability rating, he will be a huge asset to the Democratic Party in 2016. Democrats will not make the same mistake that Al Gore made by keeping Bill Clinton on the bench in 2000. Gore’s decision was complicated by the Lewinsky scandal, but former President Clinton was incredibly popular, and might have been able to tilt the election to Al Gore if he had been more utilized on the campaign trail.
Despite numerous Republican attempts to create one, President Obama has no scandals. The scandal-free nature of his administration combined with a growing economy suggests that the stage is set for Obama’s favorability ratings to grow as his time in office winds down. This poll may reflect a political climate where voters aren’t looking for a change. If voters are satisfied with this president personally and professionally, it will only strengthen the Democratic case in 2016.