Do Americans Still Like Obama?

most still like the man personally (Photo/Paul Brandus)
By
Chris Cillizza and Sean Sullivan / Washington Post (Mar. 27)
6 Comments

 

By Chris Cillizza and Sean Sullivan / The Washington Post

Nearly six in ten Americans have a favorable impression of President Obama in a newWashington Post-ABC News poll, numbers that suggest that even as the chief executive engages in a series of thorny policy fights his personal appeal remains strongly intact.

Fifty-seven percent of people view Obama favorably in the new Post-ABC survey while 41 percent regard him unfavorably. Those numbers are remarkably similar to the 60 percent favorable/37 percent unfavorable ratings for Obama in Post-ABC polling conducted in late January — just weeks after the president had been inaugurated for a second term.

The high regard with which the public holds Obama personally stands in contrast to the more middling job ratings for the president.  In the latest Post-ABC national poll – conducted earlier this month — 50 percent approved of how he was handling his job while 46 percent disapproved.

That discrepancy isn’t new for Obama. Throughout his presidency, his personal favorable numbers have far outstripped his job approval ratings. In short: People like him (and his image as a father and husband) more than they like his policies. That likability factor shouldn’t be undersold, however, as it played a central role in Obama winning a second term despite a scuffling economy and negative ratings for his efforts to fix it.

Ob fav app graph

A look at exit polling from the 2012 election tells the story. One in five voters said that a candidate who “cares about people like me” was their top priority in making up their mind in the contest; Obama won 81 percent among that voting bloc.

What’s clear from Obama’s continued strong favorability ratings is that he has, to date, not seen much damage to his personal image from the contentiousness between the White House and Congress over sequestration and guns (and, to a lesser extent, immigration).

What’s not is whether Obama’s favorability numbers grant him a political upper hand as negotiations over the that trio of issues heat up. In other words: Does the fact that people still like Obama matter when it comes to divisive policy issues?  Or does the fact that Obama’s job approval is hovering right at 50 percent matter more?

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Comments
28 March 2013 06:01pm
Reply
Unless Obama's out of control spending and destruction of our military is stopped, the U.S. will soon cease to exist. I voted for a man who presented himself as intelligent and reasonable in 2008. Upon election, that man disappeared. Unfortunately, his policies are going to deliberately destroy the country.
28 March 2013 07:29am
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Ignorance in this situation is very dangerous for your freedom. Bush = Bad for USA, Obama = 100x worse for the USA. Stop watching the news. Stop believing your idea of whats going on and actually read what this guy is signing and actions he is taking. WOW never seen so many people blinded in the history of man. try getting out of your neighborhood and find out whats really going on. This guy makes Jim Jones look like a cupcake.
27 March 2013 08:21pm
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Not just like him: also love him. God bless him and his family.
28 March 2013 12:22am
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Who won't like him. Buff, tall, well to do (his grandma was a vp of a bank), tax payer funded healthcare hand outs and same-sex marriage supporter. The sex marriage gets me a pension, healthcare, tax breaks, ect..
27 March 2013 11:48pm
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Gay marriage, legal marijuanilla, and free health care to pay for HIV and marijuanilla. Obama is f*ck*n awesome.
28 March 2013 12:11am
Reply
I can't wait to grow up and marry my boyfriends. I hope one has a good health plan and an other has a good pension. Then I can just be free.
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