Another day, another poll showing that President Obama's job-approval rating is not collapsing under the weight of scandals and controversies. Why is he holding steady? Will it last? And will Republicans take any cues from his staying power?
Given the noise level on Capitol Hill, cable TV, and social media, Obama's 50 percent-plus showings in recent polls from CNN, Pew, and ABC/Washington Post seem somewhat surprising. But two veteran political pollsters, one from each party, say that Obama can expect to maintain his standing as long as there's no evidence that he was involved in the two big furors of the moment: the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative groups for extra scrutiny, and the Justice Department seizing Associated Press phone records as part of a leak investigation.
Republican Bill McInturff and Democrat Stan Greenberg agree that Obama is in a relatively strong position short of "a real set of facts that implicates the president," as Greenberg put it. The reasons include Obama's steadfast coalition of blacks, Latinos, and young people, and a Washington tradition of leaving the president in the dark.
The president's core base has kept his approval rating in the mid-40s or higher through the five years of his presidency, McInturff says, and won't desert him. He calls that unusual, and you only have to look back one administration to see why. George W. Bush had job-approval ratings in the 20s and 30s for most of his second term. Obama's job approval could drop over time due to the controversies, McInturff says, "but will they restructure his job approval? Not with the information we have today."