ChrisWeigant.com

Please support ChrisWeigant.com this
holiday season!

Obama Poll Watch -- January, 2016

[ Posted Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016 – 17:10 PST ]

Obama Bounces Back

President Obama just had a very good month in the polls. Not spectacular, mind you, but still better than any month since January of 2015. Essentially, Obama regained the job approval polling ground he lost over the previous two or three months, and he is now positioned to continue improving in February as well. For the first time in a year, this movement is so noticeable it is easily visible on the big chart.

Obama Approval -- January 2016

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

January, 2016

The month of January is usually a good one for Barack Obama. January of 2016 was no exception. Other than a standoff with some anti-government yahoos up in Oregon, once again the main political news revolved around the presidential race -- which tends to push presidential news aside. Also, the end of last year had no knock-down drag-out budget battles, and Congress mostly slumbered throughout January.

The biggest January news for the president was (as always) the State Of The Union speech -- the last such speech Obama will give. Obama took the opportunity not to tout a whole bunch of policy proposals (that would then go nowhere in the current Congress), but instead chose to speak to his own legacy. He reminded America that he has indeed been a substantive president and gotten a lot of good things done.

In most years, this produces an upward bump in presidential job approval polling. But this year Obama's improvement seems more of a lasting nature than just a temporary spike upwards. We'll have to wait until the February numbers are in to see if this is true or not, but either way Obama had a good month in January.

I have a suspicion (this is based on no actual data, I should add) that one of the things helping to buoy Obama's ratings was the renewed focus on the Democratic nomination race. For a long period the focus was mostly on the Republican side (and mostly on Donald Trump), but Bernie Sanders finally got some attention towards the end of January. The media also focused some attention on Hillary Clinton's campaign, who seems to be fighting hard to talk up Barack Obama's legacy. Her campaign now centers around how she would continue (and improve) Obama's policies, and she's out there touting his successes on the stump. Her close embrace of the president (essentially arguing she'd be a third Obama term) may be reminding some of the public why they liked him so much in the first place. That's just a theory, but I do think it's probably having an effect, especially among Democrats.

For the month, Obama improved his job approval rating by a whopping 1.8 points, to wind up at 45.5 percent. His disapproval fell by 1.4 points and ended up at 50.2 percent. Compare this to last September (before his numbers started turning down), when Obama was at 45.6 percent approval and 50.3 percent disapproval. In one month, Obama regained almost all the ground he lost over the last three months of 2015, to put this another way.

 

Overall Trends

It's when you examine the overall trends, though, that things look even better for Obama. Here is an updated chart that shows the past year's movement in greater detail.

Obama detail

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

Obama not only regained all the ground he lost, he wound up at a higher point than he hit in 10 out of the previous 12 months. But what's even better news for Obama fans is that the trend throughout January was clearly headed in the right direction, all month long.

Obama's rolling daily average job approval and job disapproval numbers showed more absolute change within the month than they have in two years. His job approval started the month at 43.6 percent, and then rose over three points to end up the month at 46.9 percent. This is a daily high Obama hasn't seen since the summer of 2013, which is pretty notable. His job disapproval also shifted dramatically, starting at 52.0 percent which then fell steadily to end up the month at 48.6 percent. Again, Obama hasn't seen this number lower than 49.0 percent since August of 2013.

The trendline was clearly rising all month long, which bodes well for Obama in February. He starts the month off with a daily job approval average roughly one-and-a-half points higher than his monthly January average, which is an excellent way to start any month. If he just maintains where he is now, he'll add almost as much in February as he managed in January. Of course, this all could be illusory -- it may just be an extended bump from the State Of The Union, and his numbers could head right back down again. But the safer bet is that the trend is a real one with some staying power to it. Historically, when Obama has a good January he has always followed it up with a good February.

In fact, Obama is now within reach of breaking through to being "above water" again in the polling -- the first time that's really been a possibility since the summer of 2013. Since that point, his approval number has been lower than his disapproval rating (or "below water"). Throughout most of last year, this gap hovered between four and six percent. It got worse at the end of the year, hitting 6.9 percent in November and 7.9 percent in December. This was better than 2014, when it was in double-digits for most of the year (hitting a high of 12 percent underwater). In January, Obama shrunk this gap from 7.9 percent down to 4.7 percent. In February, he could easily gain more ground. If his numbers do keep improving (perhaps as Hillary Clinton continues to remind Democrats why they voted for him), by March Obama could easily be within reach of turning that into a positive gap for the first time since 2013.

So far, the media hasn't noticed that Obama is doing better in the polls. They've been consumed with the election news, and will likely continue to be. Barring any unexpected events, most two-term presidents usually improve in job approval throughout their final year, usually with a big spike upwards right after the election is over. If this pattern holds true for Obama, then perhaps January is just the start of a final upward trend. It's much too early to tell if this will turn out to be the case, but Obama enters February in better shape than he's seen since his second-term "honeymoon" period wore off.

 

[Obama Poll Watch Data:]

Sources And Methodology

ObamaPollWatch.com 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 RealClearPolitics.com; 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

Monthly
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%

Daily
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)
01/16 -- 45.5 / 50.2 / 4.3
12/15 -- 43.7 / 51.6 / 4.7
11/15 -- 44.4 / 51.3 / 4.3
10/15 -- 45.3 / 50.0 / 4.7
09/15 -- 45.6 / 50.3 / 4.1
08/15 -- 44.7 / 50.4 / 4.9
07/15 -- 45.7 / 50.0 / 4.3
06/15 -- 44.6 / 50.7 / 4.7
05/15 -- 45.4 / 50.0 / 4.6
04/15 -- 45.2 / 49.9 / 4.9
03/15 -- 44.9 / 50.8 / 4.3
02/15 -- 45.4 / 50.1 / 4.5
01/15 -- 44.8 / 50.5 / 4.7
12/14 -- 42.4 / 52.8 / 4.8
11/14 -- 42.0 / 53.4 / 4.6
10/14 -- 42.1 / 53.4 / 4.5
09/14 -- 41.5 / 53.5 / 5.0
08/14 -- 41.6 / 53.0 / 5.4
07/14 -- 41.8 / 53.6 / 4.6
06/14 -- 42.4 / 53.4 / 4.2
05/14 -- 44.0 / 51.7 / 4.3
04/14 -- 43.4 / 52.1 / 4.5
03/14 -- 42.9 / 52.8 / 4.3
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

[Dec 15], [Nov 15], [Oct 15], [Sep 15], [Aug 15], [Jul 15], [Jun 15], [May 15], [Apr 15], [Mar 15], [Feb 15], [Jan 15], [Dec 14], [Nov 14], [Oct 14], [Sep 14], [Aug 14], [Jul 14], [Jun 14], [May 14], [Apr 14], [Mar 14], [Feb 14], [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

 

23 Comments on “Obama Poll Watch -- January, 2016”

  1. [1] 
    Mopshell wrote:

    I was just wondering... what is the breakdown along party lines? What is President Obama's approval/disapproval percentages with Democrats as opposed to Republicans?

  2. [2] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    President Obama is pretty popular among Dems. :)

  3. [3] 
    John M wrote:

    If Obama's approval ratings continue to improve for the rest of the year, what impact and implications would that have for Democrats being able to keep control of the White House come November?

  4. [4] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I think the Democrats will keep control of the White House even if President Obama's approval ratings plateau again or even go down a bit.

    If his approval ratings continue to rise through the rest of the year, I think it can only mean that Democrats will not only keep control of the White House but will regain control of the Senate and improve their standing in the House of Representatives.

    Of course, I am the resident cockeyed optimist around here. :)

  5. [5] 
    Michale wrote:

    If Obama's approval ratings continue to improve for the rest of the year, what impact and implications would that have for Democrats being able to keep control of the White House come November?

    No incumbent Party has ever retained the White House when the approval rating of the incumbent has been below 50%..

    NEVER.. EVER... NOT ONCE....

    Does that answer your question, JM??

    Michale

  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    Of course, I am the resident cockeyed optimist around here. :)

    Well, certainly in this case.. :D

    Michale

  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    President Obama is pretty popular among Dems. :)

    That's what I have been saying for years now.. It's all about the '-D'/'-R' after the name. heh

    Michale

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    Speaking of Obama's popularity...

    Obama reinstates ‘catch-and-release’ policy for illegal immigrants
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/feb/4/obama-reinstates-catch-and-release-policy-illegals/

    I guess the Democrat Party is concerned that there won't be enough freshly minted new Democrat voters to ofset all the negatives that the 2 Dem candidates bring to the field... :^/

    Michale

  9. [9] 
    neilm wrote:

    I guess the Democrat Party is concerned that there won't be enough freshly minted new Democrat voters to ofset all the negatives that the 2 Dem candidates bring to the field...

    Does anybody really believe this nonsense (i.e. that illegal immigrants are voting in significant numbers, and always for Democrats), or is it just another RWNJ zombie meme that they trot out to feel better about losing elections?

  10. [10] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Obama always seems to get a bit of a "New Year Bump Up"

  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:

    Does anybody really believe this nonsense (i.e. that illegal immigrants are voting in significant numbers, and always for Democrats)

    Why exactly is it "nonsense"??

    Because the law says it's illegal??

    Well, I can't argue with that. And it's a good thing we have a POTUS who won't change the laws to fit his partisan agenda..

    Oh... Wait...

    that they trot out to feel better about losing elections?

    3 words..

    GREAT NUCLEAR SHELLACKING OF 2014..

    "Well, that's.. that's like 11 words or something. Why not just come out and say it... 'I love ya'.."
    -Ben Affleck, ARMAGEDDON

    :D

    Michale

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    Why exactly is it "nonsense"??

    Because the law says it's illegal??

    Well, I can't argue with that. And it's a good thing we have a POTUS who won't change the laws to fit his partisan agenda..

    Oh... Wait...

    In a shocking reversal of policy, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents are being told to release illegal immigrants and no longer order them to appear at deportation hearings, essentially a license to stay in the United States, a key agent testified Thursday.

    What's more, the stand down order includes a requirement that the whereabouts of illegals released are not to be tracked.

    "We might as well abolish our immigration laws altogether," suggested agent Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council.
    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/border-agent-we-might-as-well-abolish-our-immigration-laws-altogether/article/2582401

    Par for the course for Obama and the Democrat Party...

    Ignore the laws that don't further the Party agenda...

    Michale

  13. [13] 
    Speak2 wrote:

    Hey CW:

    Don't know if I ever thanked you when you began including the second graphic into this column (w/o the undecideds and a much narrower range for the vertical axis). I'm really glad you have done this and your solution (including both graphics) works perfectly well. So, thank you.

  14. [14] 
    Speak2 wrote:

    EM [4]
    I think that if Dems win the WH, then they win control of the Senate. The only exception to this is a take I read somewhat recently: If Trump is the nominee; the establishment runs a third-party GOP candidate in order to help their down-ballot candidates; and the Dem nominee runs an especially weak campaign.

    The third condition is mine: I think most of the Prez elections in my lifetime have been lost rather than won.

  15. [15] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Mopshell [1] -

    Don't know exactly -- I'd go to the RealClearPolitics page and then click on one of the individual polls (some of these links take you to PDF files will all the results and breakdowns). Overall, I think Obama's at at least 75-80% approval among Dems, but I haven't checked in a while.

    John M [3] -

    Well, it would obviously improve them, that's for sure. Reagan wasn't actually all that popular when during the 1988 campaign, but HWBush won. I think partly a second-term president's approval ratings rise because more of the public is paying more attention to politics in an election year.

    See http://www.obamapollwatch.com for all the comparisons (Obama's record compared in charts against all presidents back to Eisenhower).

    I have been meaning to talk about this in one of these OPW columns -- what will Obama's final year look like when compared to other two-termers? It won't be as high as Clinton, and it won't be as low as WBush. Right now it looks like it could either be like LBJ:

    http://www.chrisweigant.com/cw/wp-content/themes/crispy2/pix/opwpix/bhovlbj.jpg

    or perhaps like Reagan:

    http://www.chrisweigant.com/cw/wp-content/themes/crispy2/pix/opwpix/bhovrwr.jpg

    LBJ wavered in the 40s his whole final year, while Reagan managed to creep up above 50 (but not by much). Maybe next time I'll include these charts in the OPW column....

    LizM [4] -

    I think you may be right, especially about the coat-tails aspect of O's polling. If he's above 50, the likelihood of
    Dems taking the Senate improves a lot.

    See? I'm an optimist too!

    :-)

    Michale [5] -

    Well, that might be accurate, but it's kinda limited. Real consistent polling only goes back to Eisenhower (remember: "Dewey Defeats Truman"??) In that period of time, only one president had two terms and was then succeeded by a member of his own party. That's without deaths or resignations, of course. Reagan is the only one who managed it, so there's not a lot of data. We've only really even had three two-termers in that whole time (Reagan, Clinton, WBush). Not enough data to tell, in other words. Also remember, Obama was supposed to be defeated because "no president has ever been re-elected with unemployment above 7 percent" -- nothing has ever happened until it does, in other words.

    TheStig [10] -

    Yeah, winters have been kind to Obama, overall. Not entirely sure why this is, but it's mostly consistent (he did go down in at least one January period, though).

    Speak2 [13] -

    We aim to please. The past year (up to October, at least) has been so flat overall that this detail chart has been almost necessary to see ANYthing at all!

    Good point also about pres. elections being lost. Dems used to be the champions at doing so, in fact!

    -CW

  16. [16] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    That's what I have been saying for years now.. It's all about the '-D'/'-R' after the name. heh

    Not at all, Michale.

    It's actually about the policies espoused by the respective parties. But, you know that. :)

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    CW,

    Also remember, Obama was supposed to be defeated because "no president has ever been re-elected with unemployment above 7 percent" -- nothing has ever happened until it does, in other words.

    You have to admit that Obama is an aberration in so many ways that one simply cannot make make the case for the norm...

    Considering how bad things are getting in this country, I think things are going to be more like the 2014 midterms...

    But I have been wrong before.. :D

    On the other hand, I WAS right about the results of the 2014 elections. :D

    Michale

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    Not at all, Michale.

    It's actually about the policies espoused by the respective parties. But, you know that. :)

    Not at all, Liz...

    If it was all about the policies, then ya'all would be condemning the Obama administration to the high heavens for his domestic surveillance programs, his drone programs and all the other Obama policies ya'all hated when they were Bush's policies...

    The ONLY possible explanation is that Party loyalty trumps policies..

    Am I wrong???

    Michale

  19. [19] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Yes.

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    I'm wrong??

    The Left Wingery opposes Obama in the EXACT same manner and magnitude that they opposed Bush over the same policies??

    Where??

    Michale

  21. [21] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Over there.

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    "Here, here.."
    "Where, where??"
    "There, there!!"
    "Now, now..."

    -Ishmeal, STAR TREK

    :D

    Michale

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    Apparently, I have a problem with closing attributes this morning. :D

    Michale

Comments for this article are closed.