President Barack Obama’s job approval ratings are continuing to climb — and that’s good news for potential Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016.
As the president prepared for his State of the Union address to Congress on Tuesday night, it emerged that his performance in the White House was rated positively by 46 percent of the public in an average of polls taken in the past month.
According to The New York Times,
historical statistics show that the "break-even point" for the presidential party’s odds of victory is at or nearly 50 percent approval.
The figures suggest that if Obama’s ratings climb to around 50 percent that could mean that Clinton would be the next president if the former first lady is the Democratic contender.
"In 2016, the president’s approval ratings should be a telling indicator of whether the country is likely to support another Democratic administration," says Nate Cohn in the Times' political column The Upshot.
"There is a well-established relationship between the pace of economic growth and a president’s approval ratings, and Mr. Obama is clearly benefiting from signs of accelerating economic growth."
Cohn noted that Obama’s rating, which had stagnated between 42 percent and 44 percent for 15 straight months, has increased due to the continuing improvement in the economy, soaring stock prices and cheap gasoline.
A Gallup poll last month
, in fact, showed he had a 48 percent job approval rating, while — for the first time since the bank crisis in 2008 — a majority of Americans rated the economy as good or excellent.
Obama’s has gained in popularity following a series of executive actions, including amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants, a crackdown on climate change, the lifting of Cuban sanctions, and his initiative to create net neutrality on the Web, according to the Times.
The rise in Obama’s approval ratings will likely be giving Republicans much cause for concern, despite the shellacking of the Democrats in the November elections.
"If the only thing you knew about the 2016 election was Mr. Obama’s approval rating on Election Day, you might guess that the Democrats had a 37 percent chance of holding the White House with a 46 percent rating — rather than a 23 percent chance with a 41 percent rating," wrote Cohn.
"The difference between 41 and 46 might be worth between one and two percentage points to the Democratic candidate in 2016 — the difference between a close race and a modest but clear Republican victory."
Cohn concluded by saying, "Of course, there’s a long time between now and 2016. Mr. Obama’s ratings could continue to climb with sustained economic growth; they might relapse with another round of bad news.
"But the modest improvement in Mr. Obama’s standing suggests that the Republicans cannot count on an easy midterm-like victory if the economy continues to grow at a healthy pace."
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