Though two weekend polls showed mixed results for the president, Barack Obama reached an important mark in both an ABC/Washington Post poll released Sunday night and a CNN poll released Friday. His approval rating hit 50 per cent in both of them. The 50-per cent threshold is generally considered the point at which incumbents are safely re-elected. It’s the first time that Obama has hit the mark in the ABC/Post poll since April, and he briefly fell down to 46 per cent in that time span.
Obama’s job approval on specific issues paints a little less rosy picture, however. He’s stuck at a 44 per cent approval rating on the economy in the ABC/Post poll, though that’s up from just 42 per cent in May. And in the CNN poll, he’s trailing presumptive Republican Mitt Romney by a 7-point gap on which candidate would best handle the economy.
By a 13-point margin, Romney also handily beats Obama on the issue of tackling the deficit. The economy and deficit are almost always ranked Nos. 1 and 2 on voter importance.
Nevertheless, the 50-per cent approval mark is a significant one, as Gallup managing editor Jeffrey M. Jones explained recently:
The 50% approval mark is significant because post-World War II incumbent presidents who have been above 50% job approval on Election Day were easily re-elected. Presidents with approval ratings below 50% have more uncertain re-election prospects. Historically, two presidents below 50% in their final approval rating before the election — George W. Bush and Harry Truman — won, and three, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush, lost.
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