Politics

Obama Job Approval Showing Modest Improvement, Now 43%

by Jeffrey M. Jones

Rating is up from 40% in early October

PRINCETON, NJ -- President Barack Obama's job approval rating has shown modest improvement in the past week. His latest rating, based on Oct. 24-26 Gallup Daily tracking, is 43%, and his approval has been at or above 42% in each of the last seven days. In the prior two weeks, his averages were generally at or below 40%.

Oct. 5-26 trend: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president?

More broadly, Obama's approval rating averaged 40% from Oct. 1-19, but 43% since Oct. 20.

The increase in Obama's approval rating could be tied to two recent major foreign policy events -- the death of Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi and Obama's announcement that virtually all U.S. troops would be withdrawn from Iraq by Dec. 31. Additionally, the U.S. stock market has shown gains this month, particularly in the past week.

The bit of positive momentum in Americans' evaluations of the president reverses the generally downward trend seen in recent months, including a personal low 41% quarterly approval average in his recently completed 11th quarter in office.

Obama also enjoyed a rally in approval earlier this year, after the United States' military found and killed Osama bin Laden. That rally persisted for several weeks before ultimately fading, with Obama's approval rating declining further in subsequent months.

Even with slightly greater approval in recent days, Obama remains below where most other elected first-term presidents were at similar points in their presidencies. Only Jimmy Carter, with a 31% approval average in October 1979, had a worse rating in October of his third year in office.

That means Obama remains in a danger zone as far as his re-election prospects are concerned. Presidents historically are re-elected when their approval ratings are at or above 50% on Election Day, though George W. Bush was re-elected with 48% approval in 2004.

Explore President 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 Oct. 24-26, 2011, with a random sample of 1,565 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 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 sample includes a minimum quota of 400 cell phone respondents and 600 landline respondents per 1,000 national adults, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents by region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cell phone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. 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, and phone status (cell phone only/landline only/both, cell phone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2010 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.

The questions reported here were asked of a random half-sample of respondents each night on the Gallup Daily tracking survey.

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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