Obama Approval Advances to 47%, Up From 43% Pre-Election

by Lydia Saad

Weekly average of 45% and demographic support patterns are unchanged

PRINCETON, NJ -- President Barack Obama earned a 47% approval rating from the American public in Gallup Daily tracking from Friday through Sunday, slightly higher than his 44% approval rating at the start of the week, and his 43% approval rating in the three days prior to and including Tuesday's midterm elections.


At 47%, his latest approval rating is also near the top of the 41% to 48% range within which it has varied since August.

Any of several political and economic events in the news since late last week could account for the slight improvement. Obama made a post-election speech last Wednesday in which he struck a mostly conciliatory tone, stocks rallied late in the week to their highest levels since September 2008, partly spurred by Thursday's better-than-expected jobs report, and Obama's 10-day diplomatic tour of Asia began with a much-publicized state visit to India.

"Despite the uptick in approval for the president in the last few days, Obama's average approval rating for the week ending Nov. 7 is 45%, identical to his average for all of October."

While the increase in Obama's job approval rating since the election is small in absolute terms, the fact that it is up at all after his party's major congressional and gubernatorial losses is notable. According to Gallup trends, former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush saw their job approval ratings decline after their parties' midterm election losses in 1994 and 2006, respectively.

Bush's approval fell from 38% in Gallup polling conducted Nov. 2-5, 2006, to 33% in less than a week. Clinton's approval rating also declined after the 1994 midterms, though the roughly four-week lag between the two Gallup surveys spanning that election make the connection between the election outcome and the decline less clear.


Weekly Average Is Flat

Despite the uptick in approval for the president in the last few days, Obama's average approval rating for the week ending Nov. 7 is 45%, identical to his average for all of October.

Support for Obama in the first week in November among various demographic and political subgroups is very much in line with where it was during October. He receives widespread approval from blacks (88% approve) and Democrats (81%) as well as majority support from Hispanics (63%), adults aged 18 to 29 (54%), and those living in low-income households (53%). By 49% to 41%, he also receives higher support from women than men.

Bottom Line

At 45%, President Obama's latest weekly approval rating is essentially the same as it has been in recent weeks. However, his ratings in the second half of the week are up slightly over those conducted in the first half, spanning the election. If sustained over the next few days, this would buck the pattern seen for recent presidents whose parties suffered major midterm losses. Whether the increase in approval for Obama is sustained may depend in part on its cause. If the increase was spurred by the stock market rally or Obama's foreign trip, it's likely to revert to where it was before rather quickly. If it is based on reactions to the positions Obama has taken in the aftermath of last Tuesday's elections, it could remain near 47% for a longer period of time.

Explore Obama's approval ratings in depth and compare them with those of past presidents in the Gallup Presidential Job Approval Center.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of Gallup Daily tracking Nov. 1-7, 2010, with a random sample of 3,583 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, selected using random-digit-dial sampling.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each daily sample includes a minimum quota of 150 cell phone respondents and 850 landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents for gender within region. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, cell phone-only status, cell phone-mostly status, and phone lines. Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2009 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.

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