Obama more popular

2012-01-29 08:42

Washington - For once, Barack Obama is behaving like a president with the wind at his back, rather than one taking the full force of a political gale in the face.

Rising poll numbers, favourable economic data and a Republican primary race that has torn holes in the electability argument of his most likely Republican foe Mitt Romney, have combined to put a new spring in Obama's step.

And a daring raid by Navy SEALS to rescue an American aid worker and a Danish colleague from Somali pirates last week further enhanced the commander-in-chief resume on which he will run hard in November.

"Four more years" chanted a supporter at a raucous rally in Michigan on Friday. "Ok," Obama replied in a brash show of confidence.

Asked last week by an ABC News anchor how much he wanted to win re-election after a crisis-strewn three years in power, the ultra-competitive president replied "badly."


And showing new disdain for his political foes, Obama publicly ticked off Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer on an airport taxiway last week - in full view of the press.

Yet despite rising hopes in the White House, political winds can shift quickly, and the roots of future electoral woe could be lurking even in cheering economic data, and over the Atlantic as Europe struggles to keep a debt crisis sparking global contagion.

Obama is also yet to face the prolonged and withering critique of his economic record that his Republican opponent will unleash in a bid to deprive him of the second term all presidents crave.

For now though, Obama is relishing the chance to lay into Republicans who drained the joy from much of his presidency.

Obama has often looked exhausted by the bitter attrition of divided Washington, with the hope of his 2008 campaign a distant memory. But in recent weeks, he has appeared liberated, mostly when he has left Washington's partisan jungle far behind.

Good mood

He flirted with a 4 000 strong crowd of students on Friday, rolling out his staple campaign line "I love you back."

Obama recently even burst into song, crooning to supporters "I'm ... so in love with you" in a sound bite that went viral, has six million hits on YouTube and is now a ring tone.

"He's certainly in a very good mood, and those of you who have seen him up close I think can confirm that," White House spokesperson Jay Carney told reporters on Air Force One.

"He always enjoys getting out into the country."

Recent polling data has likely improved the president's mood.


A new Wall Street Journal/NBC poll shows Obama beating Romney in a head-to-head matchup by a handy six points and obliterating the former Massachusetts governor's main rival, Newt Gingrich.

The poll also suggested growing numbers of Americans approving of his economic management, and his job approval rating ticked up to 48%.

Though still high, unemployment is down to 8.5% and falling in some key states Obama is targeting as he seeks a route back to the White House, including Iowa (5.6%) and Virginia (6.2%).

US economic growth meanwhile hit its highest rate of the year in the fourth quarter of last year at 2.8%.

"The state of our union is getting stronger and we've come too far to turn back now," Obama said in his national address on Tuesday.

Political base

Obama's sometimes tense relationship with his political base may also be improving, thanks to a more brusque attitude towards Republicans and the cancellation of a Canada-US oil pipeline plan reviled by environmentalists.

"I know that he's always thought of himself and has run as a uniter, bringing people together," said Ian Rosoff, a student at the University of Michigan at Obama's rally.

"That's great, but a lot of us have been waiting for him to start asserting himself."

If he is the nominee, Romney might emerge damaged from a toxic nominating contest, but conditions remain ripe for a savage examination of Obama's record.

"You've now had three years to turn things around. The record of those three years is clear. Your policies have failed," Romney wrote in an open letter to Obama in the Detroit News on Friday.

Trouble lurking

"We have now had 35 consecutive months of unemployment over eight percent, the longest such period since the Great Depression.

"Mr President, forgive me being blunt, but when it comes to economic affairs, you're out of your depth."

There may also be trouble lurking in recent favourable economic data.

Friday's growth figure of 2.8% was actually lower than the 3.2% analysts had expected, and many experts warn economic expansion could slow later this year, just when Obama hopes for a job-creating spurt.

And unemployment in some other key battlegrounds - like Florida and Nevada, remains high - at 12.6% and 9.9%, complicating Obama's route to the 270 electoral votes he needs to win re-election.

  • Sinudeity - 2012-01-29 09:26

    Obama is going to cream the GOP in the elections. Are those candidates the best they could come up with?

      ffaarg - 2012-01-29 10:57

      I have read and heard quite a bit from Gingrich. Not that recently i.e. prior to his running for President, but he is very intelligent and gifted at putting his point across. I know less about Romney but his record speaks for itself. I would definitely vote for him because he has been consistent in saying that dependency is death to initiative and is a cancer to society. He is actually someone who has accomplished things inside and outside of politics which cannot be said of Gingrich or Obama.

      Gerhard - 2012-01-29 11:11

      Gingrich is a professor of history. He also was speaker of the hose.

      Sinudeity - 2012-01-29 12:05

      Problem with Nute is, he's had almost as many affairs as Zuma. He also resigned as speaker of the house, to prevent further disgrace to the Reps. But he did win the South Carolina primaries. Nah, Romney's past comments are seen as racist, and his riches (the networth of the previous 8 presidents added together, then doubled) is not going to win him any favours with the 99% either. Only dude I would consider voting for is Ron Paul, but he aint never going to be nominated.

      Sinudeity - 2012-01-29 12:34

      And you know what, for the past 3 years, the GOP has been doing nothing else but BLOCKING every single Obama initiative. Obama has been on the warpath ever since his runin with Brewer. Rightly so. Obama WILL get reelected.

      goyougoodthing - 2012-01-29 14:10

      Obama is the best of a very bad bunch. The whole idea of government, considering their general woeful management of everything, worldwide, is absurd. Why do we need a government at all? Surely private companies would do better jobs at managing roads, water supply, infrastructure etc. The judiciary can take care of itself... why do we need politicians at all?

      James - 2012-01-29 17:38

      Romney was Management consultant at Mkinsey {no 1 Worldwide} They Hire top 1% out of Ivy League Schools. Obama is a Fffing Affirmative action,vacant stare,Marxist,Community Organiser, Affirmative Action Poster child, who is not black nor white. Media elected, we know very little about him.

      James - 2012-01-29 17:41

      BTW Obamas DNA is about within 3% of Ocean Invertebrate. Source; any Bio Chemist with PHD in Nano Tech.

  • ChristopherGlenHarrison - 2012-01-29 09:49

    I think Obama would be in a permanently cheerful mood if he could just continuously campaign. He's a master orator, and a mediocre executive.

      Showerhead Zooma - 2012-01-29 10:45

      Maybe he belongs in Africa.

      Lebogang - 2012-01-29 10:48

      Most American presidents are poor executives. That's actually not a requirement for that job, it seems.

      ffaarg - 2012-01-29 10:51

      I am not sure he is a master orator. He is good when he has a teleprompter, useless without it. He is definitely no Regan.

      James - 2012-01-29 17:23

      He is a bumbling moron without his Tele-Prompter.

  • Sam - 2012-01-29 11:26

    Would rather have Obama than our president. In fact, I really like him. I think that anyone who blames him for the current economic affairs is quite short sighted considering the state of the entire world.

  • SM1012 - 2012-01-29 12:16

    Give a BLACK child an education, he will definitely surprise the elite minority of RACIST...and they will hate him for success...some REPUBLICANS are so STUPID to realise OBAMA intelligence and brightness because he's BLACK...similar to AFRIFORUM who are running their own agenda in Mzanzi. If anyone can realise that intelligence and ability does NOT come with Race but HUMANKIND, me and You can make a better WORLD for all.

      goyougoodthing - 2012-01-29 14:08


      James - 2012-01-29 17:27

      First the vacant stare Community Organiser is NOT black or white. Second he spent $1mill campaign funds to hide his past. I want to see his transcripts. Afirmative action boy deserves a C and Prof gives him an A.

  • StartLoving1 - 2012-01-29 14:46

    Very well written article. Among the best written I've seen anywhere in a long while. Well done.

  • Johanna - 2012-01-29 15:59

    I love the President and support his policies, I was disappointed by his obsessive "compromising" with the Party of No, but now that he's been fighting hard I'm all in once again. President Obama is a brilliant man though, having set the foundation of compromise with obstructionist, the Tea Party gave him a gift in 2010; Do Nothing Congress 2.0.

      James - 2012-01-29 17:29

      You are clueless.

      Douglas - 2012-01-29 19:17

      Idiot - Obama has done nothing since he was elected except get Obamacare passed and they will need to be reversed

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