Will Obama Get Higher Approval Ratings in 2011?

Dec 28, 2010 2:59pm

ABC's Sara Just reports: Will the Presidents’ political headlines in the month of December, a month in which he brokered bi-partisan agreements on a spate of legislation, push his approval numbers above the critial 50 percent mark?

Democratic pollster Stefan Hankin predicts they will.

“We haven’t seen numbers yet, I’m sure we’ll see a bunch of new numbers in early January for national public polling, but I would imagine we’ll see his numbers heading north,” Harkin said today on ABC’s Top Line.

“The one thing we have to remember when we look at his numbers is it's not in comparison to January ’09 when his numbers were over 60 percent, that was a false high and there’s no arguing that one,” Harkin said. “But he won with 53 percent in 2008, and even now when his numbers are so-called plummeting, his numbers are still in the high 40s so he hasn’t really gone that far.”


When asked by Top Line hosts Amy Walter and Z. Byron Wolf whether the President needs to rebrand himself in order to ride high into the 2012 elections, Harkin says no.  He points to the support he sees in poll numbers for the President, even among Independents.

“We recently did a post-election poll…looking into Obama voters who either left and voted for Republicans or stayed home and what we’re seeing there is even among the voters who switched and voted for Republicans in 2010, we’re seeing the majority are still saying they’re still pretty much open to supporting the President.”

“There are two ways to argue that, it’s a a glass is half empty, glass is half full argument. But any way you look at it, if a majority of the people who left you after two years are saying they’re coming back in two years, you’re not in a terrible position.”

But Harkin says support for the President this year may very well lay in the hands of the Republicans now controlling Congress.

“If (Republicans) overplay their hand, it coudl be aproblem. What we saw in this poll is that these switchers – who went from Obama to the Republicans in 2010 – what they’re looking for is compromise and they’re looking for things to get done.”

Harkin added that the strategy of the Republican party, now with so many new members, is still unclear. “If the Republicans come in in January and swing to the right and let the Tea Party members dictate, I think they’ll have a backlash.”

But Harkin says the Democrats have to think about how they position themselves against a Republican party now in the majority in the House. “The Democrats have a problem too. If they’re seen only as working with Republicans for one month but then just going back to pushing back on
Republicans, they’ll be punished.”

But the Democratic strategist thinks the President can weather both scenarios:

“Obama is in a win-win position. Whether Democrats or Republicans are his foil, he’s going to come out looking good,” Harkin predicted.



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