Less than eight months before the November midterm elections, Americans are evenly split, with 48 percent approving of Obama’s job performance, up from 42 percent in December — the biggest positive change of his presidency, according to a Bloomberg National Poll. He’s also registering an improved favorability rating at 49 percent, the highest since last June.
Even so, majorities still disapprove of Obama’s performance across a broad spectrum of issues. They include the economy, a top issue for voters this year, which may threaten his party’s chances for retaining control of the U.S. Senate. Republicans need a net gain of six seats in November’s elections to retake control of the chamber.
“The six-point increase in Obama’s approval rating puts him back in the territory he typically occupies,” said Ann Selzer, founder of Des Moines, Iowa-based Selzer & Co., which conducted the March 7-10 poll of 1,001 U.S. adults that has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. “He had a post-election bump in December of 2012 and February 2013 and then a steady decline.”
The survey is an early test of how Americans are responding to the central themes Obama unveiled in his State of the Union address, including expanding economic opportunity, upward mobility and raising wages. Those issues also will be central themes for Democrats in this year’s elections.
Sixty-nine percent of Americans, including 45 percent of Republicans, support the president’s call to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 over the next three years. Twenty-eight percent of poll respondents oppose such action.