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Obama's Popularity

I'm a bit late in coming to this, but the incredibly strong numbers for Obama in today's Times poll seem like a slight artifact of timing--a few weeks of good stock market news, plus an overseas trip that, whatever its substantive accomplishments (and they weren't nil), was a PR bonanza. At least that's what this quote in the write-up made me think:

Frank Henwood, an independent from Amarillo, Tex., said: “Hopefully, the stock market has bottomed out and is on the rise. Once the stock market shapes up, I think the economy will come back, and then jobs will come back and people will start buying automobiles made in America.”

I'm not surprised Obama's numbers have been resilient, but I didn't expect them to be this resilient (66 percent approval rating, his highest yet).

That said, this result strikes me as both meaningful and important:

58 percent disapprove of his proposal to bail out banks. But the percentage of respondents who said they thought it would benefit all Americans, rather than only bankers, jumped from 29 percent in February to 47 percent now, signaling that the White House might be making progress in changing perceptions of the plan.

This does seem more like a function of making your case better than goodwill from a rising stock market. If it were the latter, wouldn't people be more inclined to approve of the plan altogether?

--Noam Scheiber