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Why Obama Is The 2012 Favorite

Mark Murray reads the latest WSJ/NBC poll and concludes that President Obama is in pretty strong shape:

Despite all the bad news the White House has endured over the past several months -- an unemployment rate near 10%, the BP spill, the midterm results -- the president's standing has remained steady. His job-approval rating stands at 45% (which isn't far off from where it was a year ago, when it was 47%); his economic handling is at 42% (same as it was a year ago); and 72% say they like Obama personally, even if they don't like his policies. What's more, in potential 2012 match-ups, he bests Romney by seven points (47%-40%), Palin by 22 points (55%-33%), and a relatively generic candidate like John Thune by 20 points (47%-27%). Of course, Thune and Romney both hold him under 50%.

In an accompanying article he has some pollster quotes:

“This is a president who retains very strong numbers with a political core constituency,” said GOP pollster Bill McInturff, referring to Obama’s strong standing among African-Americans (87 percent overall approval), Democrats (76 percent), Latinos (53 percent) and younger votes.
“It is really important not to lose track of his retained strength.” 

Obviously, we're two years away from Obama's reelection, so the events of the next two years matter a lot. But the situation looks fairly promising for Obama at the moment. The bad economy has taken a toll on his approval ratings, but he looks as if he's hit a floor, and the floor isn't all that low. Polls consistently show that people like him personally and side with him against the Republicans -- this is paradoxically true even in an environment where the public sided strongly with the GOP in the midterm elections. Barring a double-dip recession, he's well-positioned to win a head-to-head matchup against a Republican in 2012.