News / USA

Obama's Poll Ratings Rising

President Barack Obama listens as China's President Hu Jintao speaks before offering a toast during a State Dinner in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, 19 Jan, 2011
President Barack Obama listens as China's President Hu Jintao speaks before offering a toast during a State Dinner in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, 19 Jan, 2011

Multimedia

President Barack Obama delivers the annual State of the Union Address next Tuesday to a joint session of Congress and is expected to lay out his administration’s priorities for the year ahead. Public-opinion polls show the president is enjoying a bit of a political rebound in recent weeks.


Several recent polls show a surge in President Obama’s public-approval rating. The latest survey by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal newspaper found 53 percent of those polled approve of how Obama is handling his job, a jump of eight points from last month.

Political analysts say the reason for the upswing in the president’s approval appears to be related in part to the president’s call for unity in response to the recent shooting spree in Arizona that killed six people and wounded several others, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. They also say the successful late-year congressional session helped the president and lawmakers from both parties.

President Obama’s improving political standing comes at the midpoint of his four year term, which so far has been dominated by a divisive domestic debate over health-care reform.

Obama won passage of health-care reform last year, but Democrats paid a price in the November elections when Republicans regained a majority in the House of Representatives.

Peter Brown is with the Quinnipiac University Polling Center in Connecticut. He said, "Interestingly, voters said the best thing he has done is health care, and voters said the worst thing he has done is health care, which shows you how split the country is on health care."

Obama did strike a tone of unity when he spoke at a memorial service in Tucson, Arizona, for those killed and wounded during the recent shooting spree.

"It is important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds," said the president.

That hope was quickly put to the test in Congress where Republicans in the House voted to repeal the president’s health care law, including Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

"We are here because we heard the American people in the last election," said Ryan. "We are here because we believe it is really important to do in office what you said you would do."

Analysts believe full congressional repeal is unlikely because Democrats still hold a majority in the Senate and because President Obama has vowed to veto any repeal bill coming out of Congress.

In the wake of last November’s Republican election gains, Obama faces some daunting political challenges in getting his agenda through Congress.

Pollster Peter Brown said Americans remain split about the president as he begins his second two years in office. "Almost three-quarters of voters say they like him personally, but less than half like his policies."

Among those who do not like his policies are many independent voters, according to analyst and author Richard Wolffe.

"Those are people who backed Obama in 2008," said Wolffe. "They voted against Democrats in 2010. They have got to win them back, see the economy picking up some steam, and do all of that in two years."

Some analysts see the potential for limited cooperation over the next two years, especially given White House staff changes that include a new chief of staff, former Commerce Secretary Bill Daley.

John Fortier, a political scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, said, "There will be disagreements between Republicans and Democrats. But in areas where they can find some common ground, Bill Daley is a person who might be able to pull those coalitions together."

Increasingly, much of the next two years will focus on the 2012 presidential election and how both parties are positioning themselves.

President Obama’s poll ratings have improved of late, but they were down through much of last year.

Brown said a president’s political fortunes can change quickly, and he points to the experience of then President Ronald Reagan prior to his re-election bid in 1984.

"Reagan had a 37-percent job approval rating at this point in 1983," said the pollster. "Twenty-two months later Ronald Reagan won the largest landslide in American presidential history. Times change and conditions change.  In the case of Mr. Reagan, the economy got much better."

The political maneuvering for the 2012 presidential campaign is expected to heat up in the next few months when several potential Republican White House contenders announce whether or not they will seek the presidency.







You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs