Two new polls show that President Barack Obama’s approval rating has inched up into the positive range. A CNN/ORC International Poll
puts the president’s job approval at 49 percent with 48 percent disapproving, an increase of five points from last month.
A new Washington Post-ABC News
poll had similar results. The poll found that 49 percent approve and 47 percent disapprove, the highest rating Obama has had since May when he got a temporary boost after the killing of Osama bin Laden.
The Post poll also showed that Obama fares better than Republicans in Congress when the public is asked who is better when it comes to protecting the middle class. Obama was the choice of 50 percent and the GOP was by just 35 percent.
"President Barack Obama's approval rating appears to be fueled by dramatic gains among middle-income Americans," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "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."
Similar to the Post’s findings, Obama's gains in the CNN poll have come at the expense of congressional Republicans. Those polled, by 50 to 31 percent, said they had more confidence in Obama than the GOP to handle the major issues facing the country. In March, the margin was just 44 percent to 39 percent in Obama’s favor.
The Republican Party’s favorability rating has declined 6 points to 43 percent since June while Democrats have held steady at 55 percent.
"The Democrats do particularly well among middle-income Americans, while the Republicans win support only from the top end of the income scale," Holland said.
The CNN poll of 1,015 adult Americans questioned by telephone from Dec. 16-18, found that just 16 percent approved of the job Congress was doing and three-quarters approved of Obama personally.
"Overall, it's not a bad position for an incumbent to be in as the calendar turns to an election year, but there are many months to go," Holland said.
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