Catching up on some news of the past week, it would be inappropriate to let pass without mention that President Obama's approval rating reached 50% in a CNN/ORC poll, the first time that's occurred in two years. His disapproval rating also dropped, down to 47%.
Much of this was impacted because of an increased public approval of his handling of the economy, up to 52%, an rise of six points since a month earlier. More notably, this is the first time in six years that the poll has shown the President's handling of the economy to be over 50%.
Part of this response northward in the polls may be because of another increase in over 200,000 new jobs added -- the total figure being 223,000. This allowed for unemployment to drop to 5.3%. When Mr. Obama took office from George Bush, unemployment was 7.8.
To be fair, wages have been steady. And some of the drop in unemployment may be attributed to people leaving the job market. But 223,000 increased jobs and a 5.3% unemployment rate are nonetheless factual realities. And I think it's equally fair to say that if a Republican Administration was in office, we'd be hearing an orchestra of trumpets heralding the news. Except, based on evidence of the last Republican Administration, there's no certainty that unemployment would have fallen as low as 53% -- or at all.
What I find most fascinating about all this is that the President's poll numbers have steadily improved since the mid-term elections, when voters gave control of the Senate back to Republicans. And its since the election, when the President realized that he was now facing both houses of Congress against him that he's been most aggressive in his policies. Which have gained increased approval.
You sort of wish voters had recognized that they actually liked Democratic policies before voting them out of office. But then, perhaps it was a case of finally seeing the reality of Republican control of the both the Senate and House that made the public realize, "Oops, so that's what the GOP in charge means," that allowed them to appreciate the Obama Administration and Democratic policies more.
In any event, it bodes a challenge for Republicans to convince voters in 2016 that this increased approval of the Obama Administration means they should now go backwards against the policies they're saying they're liking more and more.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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