Obama Poll Watch -- February, 2014

[ Posted Wednesday, March 5th, 2014 – 17:20 UTC ]

Another good month

For the second month in a row, President Obama had an all-around positive month in the public polls. His job approval average was up, his job disapproval was down, and he has almost completely recovered from the dip his numbers took after the Obamacare website rollout fiasco. This is clear when you take a look at the chart for February:

Obama Approval -- February 2014

[Click on graph to see larger-scale version.]

February, 2014

As I accurately predicted last month, Obama's numbers continued to improve in February. His monthly average job approval rating is up for the third straight month in a row. Even more impressive, this means that in four out of the last five months, Obama's job approval rate has improved. His job disapproval rate was down in February, for the second straight month. All around, Obama continues to improve since his big Obamacare website dip.

Congress, as usual, wasn't around much in February, so not a whole lot got done in Washington. Obama entered the month riding on a small wave of goodwill from his annual State Of The Union address, which started him off in a fairly good place in the polling. A report came out from the Congressional Budget Office on Obama's plan to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, and Republicans spun it as a "job-killer" (no surprise there). This didn't noticeably slow down the Democratic push for the measure, and it certainly didn't change the public's mind either -- a minimum wage hike is still wildly popular. Republicans punted (once again) on immigration reform, exacerbating a long-term demographic problem for them, trading it off for the possibility of short-term gains in the midterms later this year.

The big news out of Congress this month, though, was that John Boehner essentially threw in the towel and gave Obama exactly what he asked for -- a clean bill to raise the debt ceiling. Boehner realized (much to the dismay of all the Tea Partiers) that destroying the full faith and credit of the United States was a bit too radical a move for an election year. Obama won this one, hands down.

The Winter Olympics took place in Russia, which always generates a certain amount of jingoism in the public at large ("U.S.A.! U.S.A.!! U.S.A.!!!"), which may have benefited Obama a bit as well. Towards the end of the month, Obama started leaking particulars from his new budget. At the very end of February, Russia was back in the news -- but not for a good reason -- as the situation in Ukraine got ugly.

For the month, Obama averaged 43.3 percent in the job approval category, and 52.3 percent in disapproval. His approval rate rose a total of 0.6 percent, and his disapproval fell 0.4 percent. This is the first time in his second term he's managed gains in both categories for two months running, it bears pointing out. Of course, in absolute terms those numbers are still pretty bad -- anything below 45 percent approval (or above 50 percent disapproval) is worrisome indeed for any president. But Obama has improved significantly from just a few months ago, when he hit his all-time job approval low (41.4 percent) and his all-time disapproval high (54.0 percent). To put the numbers further in perspective, he still has some ground to make up to get back to where he was before last October (43.9 percent approval and 50.8 percent disapproval). But he definitely was moving in the right direction in both January and February.


Overall Trends

The overall trends aren't as rosy as simply comparing the last two months to previous months. The trendline weakened for Obama in February, and at the very end of the month showed some troubling signs. This may have been due to the scarcity of data for the month, though.

Because the Obamacare website was a significant political event, Obama's polling dropped very sharply last November -- in one month, his job approval dropped a whopping 2.8 percentage points, and his disapproval rose by an even-bigger 3.1 percent. As I mentioned, Obama still hasn't fully recovered from this really bad month. Now, whenever any bad political event happens quickly, the recovery in polling can be expected to be slower than the drop (the reverse is true as well, for quick spikes upwards). But even the rate of change is now slowing.

The trendline (or, for those of you who remember high school geometry, the "slope") of Obama's improving poll numbers is flattening. His job approval numbers were up 0.5 percent in December, 0.8 percent in January, but only 0.6 percent in February. His disapproval numbers were not as even, rising 0.1 percent in December before falling an impressive 1.3 percent in January -- but then only dropping 0.4 percent last month. The rate of change is slowing, in other words.

That's the first bad news for next month. The second bit of bad news is kind of nebulous right now, so it's really anybody's guess how it'll turn out by the end of March. What we measure in our charts here is the monthly average of Obama's daily "poll of poll" averages posted on He started out the month at a pretty good spot in the daily numbers, but then dropped a bit. Mid-month, though, he started to climb again, hitting a high of 44.4 percent. But at the very end of the month, he was down to almost the worst number he posted that month, 42.7 percent. Obama's disapproval didn't fluctuate quite as much, I should add.

Part of this was due to a dearth of polling in February. It's the shortest month, obviously, and several nationwide pollsters didn't post any numbers at all in February. Major polling operations aren't on any sort of set schedule -- they poll very roughly "once a month," but it's not like it's "every four weeks" or anything (sometimes they take a break of five or even six weeks between polls). So in February, only three national monthly polls were posted. In January, by way of comparison, nine monthly polls appeared. What this meant was that the weekly polling organizations had more weight, as did the pollsters who operate "rolling daily" polls (Gallup and Rasmussen).

This also means a bunch of monthly poll numbers will likely appear in the first week or so of March. Depending on what these polls show, it will set the stage for Obama's daily average for much of the month. So, if the monthly polling is good, Obama can expect to reverse his momentary blip downward and have a pretty good month in March. If the monthly polling in the next week or so isn't great, then it'll tend to weigh him down for much of the month. If this is proves to be the case, then Obama's March numbers will likely flatten out. Indeed, they may even start slipping backwards again.

Sorry to be so indecisive in predicting what the trendlines are going to be for March, but things do indeed seem to be in flux. However, one bit of good news was that the first monthly March poll (I'm cheating a bit, here, because to cleanly offer up a prediction for March I would have to not know this already) showed Obama at a relatively good 46 percent approval. If other national monthly polls show similar results, then perhaps Obama will have a third straight good month. But the possibility does exist for him to flatten or even fall back as well.

In his big Obamacare website drop last year, the president lost 2.8 percent job approval in a month, and rose 3.2 percent in job disapproval over two months. Obama has now regained 1.9 percent of his approval so far, which still leaves him 0.9 percent short. In job disapproval, his numbers are even worse, since he's only regained 1.7 percent and has 1.5 percent to go. Maybe Obama can manage this in March, and finally put all the Obamacare website rollout bad feelings behind him for good. But, at this point, it is by no means certain he'll manage to do so.


[Obama Poll Watch Data:]

Sources And Methodology is an admittedly amateur effort, but we do try to stay professional when it comes to revealing our sources and methodology. All our source data comes from; specifically from their daily presidential approval ratings "poll of polls" graphic page. We take their daily numbers, log them, and then average each month's data into a single number -- which is then shown on our monthly charts here (a "poll of polls of polls," if you will...). You can read a much-more detailed explanation of our source data and methodology on our "About Obama Poll Watch" page, if you're interested.

Questions or comments? Use the Email Chris page to drop me a private note.


Obama's Second Term Statistical Records

Highest Monthly Approval -- 1/13 -- 52.7%
Lowest Monthly Approval -- 11/13 -- 41.4%

Highest Monthly Disapproval -- 12/13 -- 54.0%
Lowest Monthly Disapproval -- 1/13 -- 42.6%

Highest Daily Approval -- 1/31/13 -- 52.5%
Lowest Daily Approval -- 12/2/13 -- 39.8%

Highest Daily Disapproval -- 12/2/13 -- 55.9%
Lowest Daily Disapproval -- 2/24/13 -- 42.3%


Obama's Second Term Raw Monthly Data

[All-time high in bold, all-time low underlined.]

Month -- (Approval / Disapproval / Undecided)
02/14 -- 43.3 / 52.3 / 4.4
01/14 -- 42.7 / 52.7 / 4.6
12/13 -- 41.9 / 54.0 / 4.1
11/13 -- 41.4 / 53.9 / 4.7
10/13 -- 44.2 / 50.8 / 5.0
09/13 -- 43.9 / 50.8 / 5.3
08/13 -- 44.4 / 50.2 / 5.4
07/13 -- 45.3 / 49.2 / 5.5
06/13 -- 46.5 / 48.5 / 5.0
05/13 -- 48.3 / 46.9 / 4.8
04/13 -- 48.6 / 46.8 / 4.6
03/13 -- 48.5 / 46.3 / 5.2
02/13 -- 51.1 / 43.0 / 5.9
01/13 -- 52.7 / 42.6 / 4.7


Second Term Column Archives

[Jan 14], Dec 13], [Nov 13], [Oct 13], Sep 13], [Aug 13], [Jul 13], [Jun 13], [May 13], [Apr 13], [Mar 13], [Feb 13], [Jan 13]


First Term Data

To save space, the only data and statistics listed above are from Obama's second term. If you'd like to see the data and stats from Obama's first term, including a list of links to the full archives of the Obama Poll Watch column for the first term, we've set up an Obama Poll Watch First Term Data page, for those still interested.


-- Chris Weigant


Cross-posted at The Huffington Post

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


15 Comments on “Obama Poll Watch -- February, 2014”

  1. [1] 
    Michale wrote:

    Barring some miracle of diplomacy from Obama, the Ukraine debacle is going to drag Obama's numbers down..

    Further, March is the final deadline for TrainWreckCare and will also be the time that actual payments will have to start going to the insurance companies.

    Unless Obama does another delay to help out Democrats in the upcoming mid-terms, of course...

    So, my prediction that Obama's numbers are going to tank can still come true..

    But Obama is still way underwater.. More people think Obama is doing a crappy job than think he is doing a good job..

    I have even noticed a shift here in Weigantia as well..

    So, see!?? Miracles CAN happen!! :D


  2. [2] 
    Michale wrote:

    Health insurance marketplaces signing up few uninsured Americans, surveys say

    The ACA had two distinct and specific goals.

    To make healthcare affordable and to make sure those who are uninsured..

    On the first, it's obvious that obamacare has failed. There are NOTHING affordable about obamacare...

    Now, we come to find out that the second aspect of obamacare is ALSO a miserable failure...

    LESS than 10% of those signing up for obamacare were previously uninsured.

    LESS THAN 10%!!!!

    So, obamacare is NOT bringing health insurance to the uninsured masses and obamacare is NOT bring healthcare costs down to the 'affordable' mark.

    Now matter WHAT litmus test you use, obamacare is a train wreck...

    The facts are clear...


  3. [3] 
    LewDan wrote:


    Seriously--You REALLY need to check in with reality once in a while. Insuring the uninsured was a BONUS not the goal of Obamacare. That's the Right's welfare dog-whistle spin on Obamacare. The GOAL of Obamacare is to rein in COSTS across the board.

    And your "only 10%" of those signing up were uninsured means 90% are INSURED who SWITCHED to using the exchanges to get a better deal. Apparently Obamacare is reducing costs and making healthcare more affordable.--Go figure.

    And, somehow, YOU managed to miss the obvious and come to the exact opposite (and completely erroneous) conclusion. (Why am I not surprised?) Based on nothing but your prejudice.

    That the insured would only switch to using the exchanges if they offered better deals is self-evident. That the uninsured are not enrolling?!--Assumes facts not in evidence. That all uninsured aren't immediately enrolling? No surprise there. That's what the progressive tax penalties are for. To alter behavior and compliance, over time. Extrapolating the failure of Obamacare from the lack of immediate universal compliance is a Right-wing straw-man. And yet another example of your faulty logic.

  4. [4] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale -

    OK, we've all been listening to your predictions of Obama entering Dubya territory for months now.

    Here are the facts:

    GW Bush, in February: 37.4% approval
    March: 35.6
    April: 33.6

    Obama, February: 43.3%
    March: ?
    April: ?

    Anytime you're willing to concede defeat on this one, just let me know... something about a "picnic" as I recall...



  5. [5] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale -

    I'd also direct you to this handy chart, so you can see how my predictions are coming true, while yours are not:

    Man, I should've put some serious quatloos down on this one...


  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    Seriously--You REALLY need to check in with reality once in a while. Insuring the uninsured was a BONUS not the goal of Obamacare.

    Did you REALLY just say that?!??

    The NUMBER ONE REASON for TrainWreckCare was to bring health insurance to the uninsured. That is what was quoted time and time again by Obama and the Democrats..

    Dood, you are SERIOUSLY delusional in your Obama fixation..

    But, I tell ya what. I am always a fair guy..

    If you can get ONE Weigantian to back you up with this claim, I'll seriously consider that you might be right.

    Then I will post link after link after link after link proving you and your backer utterly wrong..

    So, let's let the peanut gallery decide..

    Does anyone else believe that bringing health insurance to the uninsured was NOT one of the top reasons, if not THE top reason, for TrainWreckCare??

    Anyone at all??


    Anytime you're willing to concede defeat on this one, just let me know... something about a "picnic" as I recall...

    Tell ya what, CW. Like I told LD above, I am a fair guy..

    Let's let March percolate til, say.. Mid April...

    If Obama's numbers are STILL above 40%, then I will concede that I was wrong and ya'all were right..


    If Obama's numbers are BELOW 40% than ya'all concede that I was right and ya'all were wrong...

    Can't get more of a fair deal than that, eh? :D

    What say ya'all??


  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    Speaking of TrainWreckCare...

    There is a BI-PARTISAN bill in the House that just passed with MANY Democrats signing on that will reduce the Individual Mandate Penalty to $0...

    This is a BI-PARTISAN bill (as opposed to TrainWreckCare itself, which was ALL Democrats and ZERO Republicans) so it's clear that Democrats are also against the Individual Mandate Penalty..

    Let's see how the White House and Obama spins THIS, eh? :D


  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    It's amazing that stuff like this is common knowledge..

    Yet Obama still garners unquestioning loyalty and blind devotion from the majority of the Left..


    From his counter terrorism policies to his domestic surveillance to his utter lack of transparency to his persecution of whistle blowers...

    Everything Obama has done in those areas has been ten times as bad as anything Bush had EVER did...

    And yet, Obama STILL has the support...



    Can anyone answer that question honestly and truthfully???


  9. [9] 
    LewDan wrote:


    "The ACA was enacted with the goals of increasing the quality and affordability of health insurance, lowering the uninsured rate by expanding public and private insurance coverage, and reducing the costs of healthcare for individuals and the government" -

    Note that of the three goals two are reducing costs, throughout the healthcare system. Now, lets see YOUR refutations, and I don't mean opinion pieces.

  10. [10] 
    LewDan wrote:


    Let me also point out that your Daily Caller cite is as misleading as your claim that the ACA WASN'T "bipartisan." The blogger in the piece wasn't censored. He seems to be under the bizarre impression that being paid by someone to write for them means he can write whatever he wants, however he wants and express his opinions instead of his employers.

    For all the other "journalists" with IQs less than their shoe size, the first amendment doesn't guarantee you can take a salary for doing one thing and then do as you please just because you consider yourself to be a journalist. And not being allowed to do as you please is not "censorship." If you want to write whatever you please you either have to find someone willing to pay you for it or write freelance.

    And as the majority of the ACA was created by Republicans it could hardly be more "bipartisan." You don't get to redefine words in the English language to suit yourself. Legislation does not have to have votes from both parties to be bipartisan. That's a "new rule" created by Republicans just so they could claim that their unprecedented obstructionism means a lack of bipartisanship on the part of Democrats. It does not. That's a lie. ANOTHER lie.

  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:


    I see your WikiPedia and raise you

    • ObamaCare's goal is to give more Americans access to affordable, quality health insurance, and to reduce the growth in health care spending in the U.S.

    Time for you to fold.. :D


  12. [12] 
    LewDan wrote:


    You REALLY only see what you want to see don't you? In YOUR cite reducing costs is STILL two of the three goals, and the uninsured aren't even mentioned. Unchecked Medicare was forecast to be unsustainable do to rising healthcare costs.

    You wingers may actually believe the federal government is all about giving away your money as handouts to poor people, but it just ain't so. ACA is about preventing GOVERNMENT healthcare costs from bankrupting the nation. It just found a way to reduce its costs while reducing everyone elses, and expanding coverage to the uninsured as well.

  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:

    ObamaCare's goal is to give more Americans access

    Spin all you want, LD. But you are alone when you think that bringing health insurance to the uninsured was NOT one of TrainWreckCare's goals..


  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:

    The problem is that TrainWreckCare was ALL about bringing health insurance to uninsured Americans.

    RIGHT up to the point that relatively NO UNINSURED Americans were signing up for TrainWreckCare..

    "We are at war with East Asia. We have always been at war with East Asia"


  15. [15] 
    LewDan wrote:


    I never said making coverage available to the uninsured wasn't a goal. I said it isn't the primary goal. It isn't what Obamacare is all about. "Giving more Americans access" means All Americans, not just the uninsured. Eliminating lifetime caps and preconditions, reducing costs so lower deductibles are affordable makes coverage more accessible to those who ALREADY have insurance as well.

    I could care less what everyone on the right says, or what the uninformed who parrot their spin say. Obamacare is about healthcare reforms to keep spiraling costs from making healthcare unaffordable for EVERYONE, including the United States government. It simply does it in a way that ALSO makes coverage more accessible to the uninsured as part of making coverage more accessible to EVERYONE.

    Perhaps you should begin rethinking your positions when the only argument you've got is "everyone in the right-wing bubble says...."

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