One Thing Changed About Obama This Year, And It Should Terrify Republicans

While much of the focus of the election year so far has been on Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, understandably, there has been a major change with regards to one of the key political figures in America and it has the potential to be a huge factor on the election.

Since January of this year, President Obama’s approval rating has seen a double digit increase. He is 12% higher now than he was then.

But over the course of the year, Obama’s approval numbers changed — quickly, and a lot. In Gallup’s most recent weekly average, Obama is at 51-45 — the exact opposite of where he was on Jan. 1 and a 12-point swing since then. He’s been at 50 percent or higher in every week since March 1, save one.

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Looking at quarterly averages of Obama’s approval, you can see how stark the improvement has been by party. Democrats have slowly looked at Obama more favorably since the beginning of 2015, but independents have begun to look at Obama much more favorably. After a sharp slide following his reelection, independents turned their opinions of Obama around at the beginning of 2014. Over the past year, that’s escalated. And since ratings from Democrats and Republicans are more stable, that shift by independents moves the needle a lot.

Multiple factors probably account for the dramatic change, but the improving economy and the contrast between Donald Trump’s buffoonish style and Obama’s leadership have to be considered. Trump is definitely having an effect among Latino voters, where Obama is up even higher than the average – almost +15%. Trump calling for a wall on the U.S. – Mexico border and describing Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists is not a good look for the Republican Party.

Obama has already said he will be out on the campaign trail for the Democratic nominee – most likely Hillary Clinton – and it has been decades since a sitting president used his office to campaign for his chosen successor (Gore pushed Clinton away in 2000, and Reagan was too ill to campaign for Bush in 1988, while George W. Bush was enormously unpopular in 2008 and McCain wanted nothing to do with him).

A popular president who appeals to both Independents and the party base is a huge asset going into an election against an opponent who is both historically unpopular and who has built his campaign based on offending key members of the Democratic coalition (women, Latinos).

Obama (and Biden) won’t be a drag on the Democratic ticket. They could be the key to a huge victory.


Featured image via Flickr