President Barack Obama’s approval rating has reached its highest peak since May 2013, according to a recent poll.
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll, released on Oct. 19, shows the president at 51 percent approval, with 45 percent disapproval amongst respondents.
After spending the last year in the 40 percentile, Obama’s job approval rating has climbed back to being generally positive. His numbers had hit a record slump in the fall of 2014, according to Gallup. The president’s low numbers did not help his party’s brand; many Democrats lost their seats in the House and Senate after the 2014 congressional election. After this low point, the President has spent the last 12 months securing several key victories.
Obama’s image amongst Americans has been helped significantly by an improving economy, a declining unemployment rate, and dropping gas prices, The Washington Post reports. It also helps that the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the president’s key legislation, was upheld by the Supreme Court and that his controversial Iran Deal has survived Congress
Even the President’s recent announcement that 9,800 U.S. soldiers will remain in Afghanistan through 2016 has been positively received. Fifty percent of respondents support the decision with 39 percent opposing, The Washington Post reports.
Although Obama is enjoying a period of general popularity, his biggest critics still outnumber his most ardent fans. While 28 percent of respondents say that they strongly approve of the president, 35 percent strongly disapprove, according to the poll.
Obama’s approval rating closely resembles that of former President Ronald Reagan during the fall of his seventh year in office, when his October 1987 job approval rating was at 51 percent, according to Gallup. In comparison, former President George W. Bush had a 32 percent approval rating in October 2007.
Obama’s approval rating is good news for whoever lands the Democratic presidential nomination going into the 2016 election. Historically, a president who finishes strong is more likely to pass the torch to a fellow party member. This could be why Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has not distanced herself from the Obama administration, Business Insider reports. Vice President Joe Biden is expected to similarly run on continuing Obama’s policies if he decides to join the race.
The Washington Post-ABC News poll sampled 1,001 random adults via telephone from Oct. 15-18. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.