It’s way early, but I like this poll, so let’s look at it. Don’t tell me the only poll that matters is the one on election day, because, well, I know that:
According to the survey, 49% of Americans approve of the job Obama’s doing in the White House, up five points from last month, with 48% saying they disapprove, down six points from mid-November. The 49% approval rating is the president’s highest since May, when his number hit 54% thanks to a bounce following the killing of Osama bin Laden. Since then, in CNN polling, Obama’s approval rating has hovered in the mid-40s.
“President Barack Obama’s approval rating appears to be fueled by dramatic gains among middle-income Americans,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “The data suggest that the debate over the payroll tax is helping Obama’s efforts to portray himself as the defender of the middle class.”
Obama’s gains have come at the expense of the Republicans in Congress and the GOP in general. By a 50% to 31% margin, people questioned say they have more confidence in the president than in congressional Republicans to handle the major issues facing the country. Obama held a much narrower 44% to 39% margin in March.
And the GOP’s overall favorable rating has dropped to six points, to 43%, since June, while the Democrats’ positive rating remained steady at 55%.
“The Democrats do particularly well among middle income Americans, while the Republicans win support only from the top end of the income scale,” adds Holland.
There’s a shocker. Republicans only do well in the top end of the income scale. One of the nice things about reading (actual) polls is the plain language. Rest assured you won’t hear that sentence phrased so bluntly again.
Here’s what interests me, however:
The survey indicates that Obama remains personally popular, with three-quarters saying they approve of him as a person.
Since Obama was elected, I have heard over and over that Americans don’t “connect” with him, mostly from millionaire pundits, but still. I heard it phrased like this the other day, from one or another gasbag: “no fundamental emotional connection”.
What does “approve of him as a person” mean, then? Is that more abstract and cerebral than “connect” or something? I would think it means they simply like him (what they know of him, of course) as a person or national figure. Does it not mean that? Is “approve” very much different than “like”? Can they approve of him without connecting with him? Sort of a cold, distant, approval?