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

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office 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.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs