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Posted by on Dec 24, 2014 in Politics | 2 comments

CNN/ORC Poll: Obama ends year on an upswing

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When the new Republican controlled Congress takes office next month, it now sounds like they will have to deal with a fact that didn’t seem to be something they’d have to deal with when the Democratic Party suffered its whopping defeat last November: A new poll finds that President Barack Obama is not only not irrelevant. His poll numbers are on the upswing.

Improving views of the economy have helped hike President Barack Obama’s approval rating to a 20-month high, a new CNN/ORC poll showed Tuesday, as markets climbed to record levels at news of an economy in overdrive.

More Americans still disapprove of the job Obama is doing as President. But at 48%, Obama’s approval rating is at its highest point in CNN polling since May 2013.

The gains were driven by newfound backing among women, independents and millennials — groups where Obama’s approval numbers jumped 10 percentage points from a month ago.

I suspect part of the explanation for the numbers isn’t the economy: it’s that Obama has refused to accept the conventional wisdom that he’s now a lame duck and it’s over for him and he has, in fact, dominated the headlines now for several weeks in taking actions using his executive power (immigration, for instance) or the moral authority of his office (criticizing Sony for cancelling the release of “The Interview,” a decision Sony has now reversed).

Meanwhile, Obama’s approval numbers ticked down among men, Republicans and Americans between 35 and 49 years old.

The approval jump follows a late-quarter jolt in Obama’s governing agenda, which gained momentum after unilateral actions on immigration and relations with Cuba. Separate surveys have showed those moves popular among the American people.
Obama: Trip to Cuba not in the works

It all amounts to some welcome good news for Obama, whose unpopularity — despite consistently improving economic conditions — led to widespread losses for his party in November’s midterm elections.

But it isn’t all good news for Obama because “56% of respondents said the President has fallen short of their expectations, and 49% said his policies would take the country in the wrong direction.:

What does this mean?

While Obama does not have the same clout he had after each of his Presidential election victories, he can’t be simply ignored. And it’s no surprise Obama has not met voters’ expectations: he first ran as kind of a blank political slate upon which voters of all kinds could assume he was one of THEM. The more choice he made once in the Oval Office, the more he defined himself to be not totally the realization of the political fantasies of some on the right, left and in the middle who voted from him in 2008.

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