Obama Job Approval Reaches 50% for First Time Since Spring

by Jeffrey M. Jones

Returns to that level for first time since late May/early June 2010

PRINCETON, N.J. -- Barack Obama's job approval rating reached the symbolic 50% mark in the latest three-day average from Gallup Daily tracking. Obama's approval rating has been in the mid-40% range for much of the latter half of 2010. He last hit 50% approval in a three-day average near the end of May/beginning of June.


The latest results are based on Gallup Daily tracking conducted Dec. 28-29 and Jan. 2. Gallup did not conduct its daily poll Dec. 30-Jan. 1.

It is not yet clear if Obama's approval rating will stay above 50% in the coming days; his approval rating in each of the individual days comprising the latest three-day average has remained near the 50% mark. The current 50% average over the last three days could reflect a temporary increase in optimism that Gallup sometimes sees at the beginning of a new year. The latest numbers also come at a time when the president was on vacation in Hawaii and out of the political spotlight, following a highly publicized pre-Christmas session with Congress that resulted in the passage of several major pieces of legislation.

Obama's current approval rating is 80% among Democrats, 47% among independents, and 16% among Republicans in the three most recent days of polling. The figures for independents and Republicans are slightly higher than what Gallup has measured for Obama in recent weeks.

Obama reached 50% on several occasions in early 2010, including averaging 50% or better for full weeks in January, February, April, and May. However, he was never able to sustain ratings above that level for more than two weeks at a time. The last time his weekly averages were 50% or higher for three consecutive weeks was at the end of 2009 and beginning of 2010.

More broadly, Obama's three-day approval averages in 2010 ranged between a low of 41% in mid-August and again in late October to a high of 53% in mid-February.

Gallup will have more on Obama's yearly figures once his full second year in office is complete on Jan. 19.

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 for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Dec. 28-29, 2010, and Jan. 2, 2011, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 1,544 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 ±4 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.

View methodology, full question results, and trend data.

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

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