Obama’s Approval Ratings Highest Since 2013, What Has Changed?

Barack Obama

President Barack Obama’s approval ratings are ticking upwards, according to a new Pew survey. Moreover, respondents have more confidence in Obama and Congressional Democrats to “do the right thing” on economic issues than in the Republican majorities coming into the House and Senate. The big question now is, with the Republican grand slam in the mid-term elections only a few months ago, what has changed?

Pew reports that Obama’s approval rating is now at 47 percent, up 5 percent from December. Another poll by CBS News showed much of the same, with Obama’s rating at 46 percent. Throughout 2014, Obama’s ratings remained poor, but that appears to be slowly changing.

Pew credits the uptick with Americans’ improving optimism about the U.S. economy.

About 38 percent of Americans feel that Obama’s economic policies have helped the country, and only 28 percent said they had a negative effect. Thirty percent said they made no difference.

That positive spread is the largest in the past five years.

Still, the figures continued to be heavily tinged by partisan politics. Obama’s approval rating among Republicans was only 10 percent, and with Democrats, it was 80 percent. With those two groups still locked into their viewpoints, self-described independents made the big change to push up the President’s ratings.

Forty-two percent of independents now approve of Obama; that figure was only 35 percent in July.

The most interesting Pew finding was in people’s confidence in Obama and the Democrats compared to Republicans.

Obama enjoys an even split, with 49 percent saying they have at least a fair amount of confidence Obama will do “the right thing” for the economy. For Republican Congressional leaders, that figure is only 37 percent, and for Democrat leaders, it’s 43 percent.

With the economy remaining the biggest issue for American voters, it seems unfortunate for the Democrats that the uptick didn’t occur a few months before. Still, the party appears to be already trying to double down on the shifting views, making major policy proposals to start off the year.

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Democrats have started the year off strong, proposing free community college for two years and lowering middle-class tax rates using money from Wall Street and high earners.

Although the proposals are bold, they have little chance of making it through the Republican-controlled Congress. In fact, 71 percent of Americans expect Congress to battle more than usual — not a particularly good sign.

Unfortunately, that means another two years of an unresponsive federal government. With Obama’s approval ratings starting to improve, Democrats may feel more emboldened, but with Congress heavily polarized, there won’t be much they can accomplish with that momentum.

[Image Credit: Pete Souza/Wikimedia Commons]