Like the economy, President Obama continues to inch toward recovery in the latest Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor survey. But the poll also underscores the political risks he still faces.
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In the survey, Obama's job-approval rating reached 51 percent, with just 41 percent disapproval. That was the first time he has crossed the critical 50 percent threshold in a Heartland Monitor poll since September 2009. It was also the smallest disapproval rating he has recorded since then.
Looking below those numbers, the poll reflects an array of positive, if moderate, trends in the president's favor. His job-approval rating amongindependents reached 54 percent, the first time it has exceeded 50 percent in the Heartland Monitor since July 2009. His approval rating among whites rose to 43 percent, the first time it has topped 40 percent since September 2009.
That gain was relatively broad-based, with approval of Obama rising slightly among both college-educated whites and those without college educations. He registered his biggest improvement among one of the few groups in the white electorate that he carried in 2008: white women who hold at least a four-year degree. His approval rating with them spiked to 56 percent, his best showing in two years. Also good news for Obama was his 65 percent approval rating among Hispanics, which approximates the level of their vote for him in 2008; other national polls have shown him with lower ratings among that group.