• September 24, 2022

Obama’s Popularity Surge Hits New Highs In Second Term

New polling indicates that President Barack Obama is enjoying a surge in popularity as his presidency winds to a close.

The sitting president’s solid favorables could result in him becoming a high-profile public figure after he leaves office and could make him an impactful voice in the November election.

On May 23, a NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that Obama had a 51 percent approval rating, his highest since his second inauguration in January 2013.

Obama remains a deeply unpopular figure within the GOP, with only 8 percent of self-identifying Republicans approving of him. That deficit is made up for by a sterling 88 percent support among Democrats and a thumbs up from 54 percent of independents.

Meanwhile, Gallup’s weekly tracking of the president’s job approval indicates that his support is continuing to grow. During the week of May 23-29, Obama had a 52 percent favorable rating, 1 point up from the May 16-22 week.

Political science professor Grant Reeher of Syracuse University said he believes Obama’s popularity is soaring due to the ugliness of the 2016 presidential primaries.

“As the conflicts got more into the gutter during the primary season, President Obama looks much better by comparison,” Reeher told The Hill. “I think that he personally has been helped by what has happened in both primaries — but particularly the Republican one — which reminded people why they liked the guy eight years ago.”

Former Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt shared a similar assessment, casting the fiery rhetoric and divisiveness of the 2016 election as a flattering backdrop for the final year of the president’s second term.

“President Obama, no matter the political stakes, has always spoken to Americans’ aspirations and better angels,” LaBolt told Business Insider. “It’s hard to argue that’s what has driven the campaign narrative this year.”

Burton Kaufman, a historian who has chronicled the post-presidency careers of all previous presidents, said he believes Obama’s relative popularity in his final year will translate into a very visible public profile in the coming years.

“There will be great demand for Obama on the speaking circuit,” Kaufman told CBS News. ” … His will be a consequential post-presidency.”

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