Here’s Why Obama’s Improving Job Approval Rating Can’t Help His Party
President Barack Obama’s job approval rating has marginally improved. Based on the results of Gallup’s daily tracking interviews conducted between January 20 and April 19, 42.4 percent of Americans, on average, believe Obama did a good job in the 21st quarter of his presidency, which spanned the reporting period. His approval rating now stands slightly higher than the 41.2 percent rating recorded in the prior quarter, but it remains among his lowest quarterly averages. This modest improvement represents the first uptick in public approval after the four consecutive quarters of decline that followed Obama’s November 2012 re-election, when 51.9 percent of the American public believed he was doing a good job as president.
For a comparison, polls conducted by NBC News/Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and CNN/ORC International put Obama’s presidential approval rating at 41 percent, 48 percent, and 43 percent, respectively.
At its most basic level, the presidential job approval rating is just a grade, represented as percentage rather than a letter. While that percentage may seem outwardly symbolic — having few actual ramifications, especially in a president’s second term — the rating does reflect the pulse of the American people. Obama’s job approval rating has far broader implications than measuring his success as the nation’s chief executive. More importantly, with congressional midterm elections scheduled for this November and the Republican party leadership framing the upcoming fight for control of the House of Representatives and Senate as a referendum on President Obama’s administration and his signature healthcare reform law, the Affordable Care Act, Obama’s approval rating will be an important reference point for campaigning politicians.