The President’s prospects for re-election are likely to depend on the state of the economy, and there are signs in this week’s Economist/YouGov Poll (Week of 2/18/2012) that things may be improving. As the figure below shows, the percentage of respondents who think the economy is getting better has risen substantially over the past six months.
This week, 29% say it is getting better, and 31% think it is getting worse. As usual, there is a partisan response: 49% of Democratic primary voters think things are improving, while 57% of Republican primary voters say they are getting even worse.
But these improved prospects are helping the President. When it comes to head-tohead fall matchups between President Obama and the remaining four GOP candidates, the President leads all of them, besting former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney by eight points, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum by ten, Texas Congressman Ron Paul by twelve, and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich by seventeen. The Obama lead is larger among women than among men.
In addition, when asked which candidate they think would win in those fall matchups, in all cases Americans think Obama would.
And President Obama is far better liked than any of the men who hope to replace him. 51% view the President favorably; 41% do not. Nationally, more see each of his GOP rivals unfavorably.
As for the President’s individual ratings, this week, 40% approve of his handling of the economy, among the best ratings since the first year of his administration.
However, the President’s overall approval rating remains in the mid-forties. This week, 45% approve of the way he is handling his job; 47% disapprove.
Photo source: Press Association