Obama’s approval rating dipped to 50% after the Republican convention, but has risen to 54% in the wake of his party’s convention, with 45% disapproval, according to a new CNN/ORC Poll
. That’s the most positive approval rating of his second term.
The increase in Obama’s approval rating comes mostly among younger Americans — he’s up 9 points among those under age 45 while losing a point among those age 45 or older — and political independents and moderates — up 9 points among each group.
Compared with other recent two-term presidents, Obama’s approval rating at this stage of his presidency ranks on par with Ronald Reagan’s ratings in 1988, and are approaching Bill Clinton’s 57% at this point in 2000.
It’s possible Obama’s improving approval ratings and outspoken stance against Donald Trump could prove beneficial to the Democrat seeking to succeed him in office, Hillary Clinton. Those who approve of Obama’s work as president are almost universally in Clinton’s corner in the upcoming presidential race, 94% of those voters back Clinton in a two-way head-to-head, while Donald Trump carries 85% of those who disapprove of Obama.
A popular president doesn’t always bode well from the person running from the same party, however. While George H.W. Bush did win the 1988 election at a time when Ronald Reagan’s approval rating held in positive territory overall, Al Gore was unable to win in 2000 despite Bill Clinton’s popularity.
Most voters say that if she were elected, Clinton would mostly carry out Obama’s policies, 64% say so vs. 33% who think her policies would mostly be different from Obama’s. But perhaps surprisingly, those who disapprove of Obama are more likely to see a Clinton presidency as an extension of Obama’s (74% say so) than are those who approve of him (57% in that group say so).
Among Clinton’s supporters, a narrow majority of 53% say they think Clinton will mostly carry on Obama’s policies, 44% say she will not. Among Trump’s supporters, however, 82% say they see Clinton as likely to extend Obama’s policies, suggesting his message connecting the two in a negative way has landed among those who back his campaign.
But the poll suggests one central element of Trump’s message could potentially face some challenges. Overall, 54% say things in the US today are going badly, down a statistically insignificant two points since June, but still a majority who feel the country could use some improvement.
Further, the share of Americans who say things in the country today are going “very badly” has climbed to 26%, the worst that figure has been since November 2011. Among Trump’s supporters, there’s wide agreement that things are off the tracks, with 86% saying things are going badly.
The troubling news there for Trump’s campaign is that overall, voters who think things in the US are going badly are less motivated to vote than the ones who say things are going well.
Among those who say things are going well, 51% say they’re very enthusiastic about voting for president. By contrast, just 38% of those who think things are going badly have that level of enthusiasm. It suggests that although they may agree with Trump’s call to “make America great again,” they may not be convinced to do so through the ballot box.
The CNN/ORC Poll was conducted by telephone July 29-31 among a random national sample of 1,003 adults, including 894 registered voters. Results among the sample of registered voters have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.