Fully 60 percent of Americans have a favorable impression of Obama in the new poll, up slightly from October but a clear shift in opinion from an election year in which his ratings hovered in the mid-to-low 50s. And by 39 percent to 26 percent, the president now has more “strongly” positive ratings than strongly negative reviews, breaking a two-year stretch in which intense opposition was on par with (or higher than) intense support.
Obama’s inaugural address earned fewer positive marks and appears to have served mainly as a pep rally, with raving reviews from supporters and plenty of yawns from his opponents. While the speech drew twice as many cheers as jeers — 51 percent approved while 24 percent disapproved — a quarter of Americans had no opinion on the speech. More than eight in 10 Democrats approved of Obama’s second inaugural, but at least three in 10 Republicans and independents have no reaction at all.
Whatever the reactions to the speech, Obama’s general likability has improved across a variety of constituencies, including a wavering base and the political middle. Obama’s favorable ratings have climbed by double digits since last year among liberals, racial minorities and people under age 40. Among each group, at least two-thirds now see Obama positively.