President Obama is leaving office on a high point, though that may be cold comfort as his successor Donald Trump prepares to dismantle major components of his agenda at home and abroad.
In the latest Allstate/Atlantic Media Heartland Monitor Poll, 56 percent of adults said they approved of Obama’s job performance, an increase of five percentage points just since June and his highest rating in the survey since July 2009. Fully 37 percent of adults said they strongly approved of Obama’s performance—a showing he exceeded on that measure only in the very first Heartland poll in April 2009.
The latest Heartland Monitor Poll is the 27th in a series examining how Americans are adapting to the changing economy. The new survey focuses on reactions to the 2016 election and the public’s priorities and expectations for the new administration and Congress. The Atlantic has been reporting results from the survey over the past week.
An uptick in optimism rippled through several measures in the poll. On some fronts, like Obama’s approval rating, that brightening reflects a steady gain evident over a period of months. Most notable is the continued improvement in the way adults assess their own financial situation. In Heartland surveys from September 2013 through September 2015, the share of adults who described their financial situation as “excellent” or “good” varied only between 42 percent and 44 percent. But that number ticked up to 45 percent in January, hit 49 percent in June, and reached 51 percent in the latest survey. That’s the first time a majority of Americans have ever described their finances in positive terms in Heartland surveys dating back to April 2009.