A new Pew poll confirms a trend that’s been surfacing for a few weeks — with the constant changes in the GOP presidential primary race, President Obama has seen an uptick in a few key metrics, maintaining a slim lead against former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney and a larger one against other possible challengers.
Pew’s numbers shows that the President’s approval rating, which has been consistently underwater during a difficult summer in Washington, is now even at 46 percent. It also shows that his favorability rating, a point of particular strength for him, continues to be positive. 52 percent of those Americans polled holds him in a positive light, versus 45 percent who see him unfavorably.
In a large sample of nearly 1,600 registered voters, Obama also leads the GOP challengers by varying levels, although the matchup versus his chief rival in Romney is close: Obama garners 49 percent against Romney’s 47. The rest of the field doesn’t fare well at all — Texas Gov. Rick Perry, businessman Herman Cain and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich are all down by double digits to Obama.
In the trial heat of the GOP primary (which was asked of all voters, not just Republicans), Gov. Romney leads with 22 percent of the electorate, with Cain at 15 and Gingrich at 10. Gingrich, who has seen a surge after sexual allegations made against Cain in his previous capacity as an executive at the National Restaurant Association were made public, is also facing criticism after seeing his star rise. The former Speaker was paid 1.6 million dollars by Freddie Mac for what he describes as “strategic advice,” but what sounds a lot facilitating a good relationship with members of Congress, otherwise known as lobbying. Obama leads Gingrich 54 to 42 percent in the national Pew poll.
Pew’s last poll showed President Obama and Gov. Romney tied at 48 percent, and Perry falling by only four. But the new data shows that a small rise in Obama’s approval rating — it was 43 approve, 49 disapprove in Pew’s October poll — may not be the chief reason that the President is now doing much better against all GOP candidates not named Romney. Both Perry and Cain have unfavorable ratings at 50, and Gingrich nearly matches them at 48. Romney is at a less severe split of 36 percent favorable to 42 percent unfavorable, which seems to provide him an opportunity against an incumbent below 50 percent approval.
And while it’s been a rough few months, other metrics simply show that Americans are giving the President positive reviews on his job performance on everything except for the economy. From Pew:
While Obama’s overall job rating has ticked up recently, few Americans (35%) approve of the way he is handling the economy. However, the percentage of Americans saying that they have heard mostly bad news about the economy has declined steadily over the past three months. Further, Obama gets more positive ratings for dealing with foreign policy (46% approve), and a resounding 75% approve of his decision to remove all combat troops from Iraq at year’s end.
The TPM Poll Average of the Obama—Romney matchup shows a 1.4 lead for the President right now.
The Pew poll used 1,576 live telephone interviews with registered voters conducted from November 9th to the 14th. The sampling error is three percent.
Kyle is the Editor of TPM Media’s PollTracker. He graduated from Beloit College (WI) and began working in politics before getting an M.A. in magazine journalism from New York University, where he interned at TPM and the website of The New Yorker.