Does America Love Obama Again?

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As far as approval ratings go, President Obama spent much of 2010 in the doghouse. But following a productive lame-duck session and his speech in Tucson, things are looking up for the president. A new NBC/WSJ poll finds his approval rating at 53% with 40% labeling him a "political moderate." Furthermore, a national survey by the Democrat-affiliated polling firm Public Policy Polling shows him scoring higher approval numbers than the top Republican 2012 front-runners. Did 'Bama get his groove back?

  • The Political Winds May Be Changing, writes MSNBC's First Read team:
These might have been Obama’s best six weeks since Fall 2008. Indeed, the bump in Obama’s approval was across the board -- independents moved from 35% approval to 46%; Democrats went from 76% to 86%, and Republicans went from 11% to 15%. Perhaps the most surprising result in the poll? Try 40% labeling the president as a political moderate, compared with 45% who see him as a liberal and 11% who view him as a conservative. That moderate number is the highest for Obama in the NBC/WSJ poll, even higher than it was before his inauguration.
  • None of the Republicans Look That Good, notes Dan Hirschhorn at Politico: "More voters view all four Republicans unfavorably than see them favorably, according to the poll. But echoing other surveys, Huckabee is the most liked, with 38 percent having an unfavorable opinion of him at 37 percent having a favorable view."
  • Don't Get Carried Away, People, advises Tom Jensen at Public Policy Polling: "As hyper as people are getting about Obama's improved approval numbers right now it's still worth noting that his performance against each of these folks is worse than what he posted against John McCain in 2008. He's in a stronger position than he was throughout 2010 but he's still in a weaker position than where he started his Presidency and that's something that should probably be kept in perspective."
  • I Don't Buy It, writes conservative blogger Robert Stacy McCain: "Before you swallow that bottle of sleeping pills, slash your wrists and stick your head in the oven, however, let me remind you that these are nationwide numbers, that the poll’s methodology looks screwy ... and that the results of the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary will not be determined by such craptastic media trickery. Actual people have to cast actual votes, and the Iowa caucuses are still a year away.

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