Obama approval is skyrocketing, and it is ideological Independents who are fueling his rise.
Philip Bump of The Washington Post took a look at the trend of President Obama’s growing popularity and found that Independents are one of the groups leading the surge in approval:
Looking at quarterly averages of Obama’s approval, you can see how stark the improvement has been by party. Democrats have slowly looked at Obama more favorably since the beginning of 2015, but independents have begun to look at Obama much more favorably. After a sharp slide following his reelection, independents turned their opinions of Obama around at the beginning of 2014. Over the past year, that’s escalated. And since ratings from Democrats and Republicans are more stable, that shift by independents moves the needle a lot.
Among the groups that have seen the biggest increases in approval of Obama since last May are Hispanics, people under 30, women and people who identify their political ideology as “independent.” (This isn’t the same as those who identify their party as independent. It’s on the liberal-conservative spectrum, not the Democrat-Republican one.) There’s probably some overlap between those independent people and young people, since younger Americans are less likely to pick an ideological label. The increase among Hispanics may also be linked directly to the presidential election.
President Obama has gained 10-15 approval points with people who view their ideology as Independent over the past year. Obama has also gained support among Hispanics, women, and people under 30.
The economy has improved, gas prices are lower, the country has entered a period of stability after the Bush years. These are all good reasons for President Obama’s new popularity. However, the biggest change to the American political landscape over the past year has been the rise of Donald Trump, and no figure in American politics is more the anti-Trump than President Obama.
As potential voters have witnessed Donald Trump in action, they appreciate Obama more. President Obama is everything that Donald Trump will never be, and voters are noticing the difference. The demographics that are fueling Obama’s rising approval rating should be a cause for alarm in the Republican Party. Independents, women, people under 30, and Hispanics are all groups that Trump has turned off.
Democrats have a powerful political weapon in the office, and Obama’s popularity suggests that he is the trump card that could hand the Republicans a crushing defeat in November.