President Needed To Improve Assessments Of His Record In Debate

October 04, 2012, 12:30 PM GMT+0

(Week of 9/29/2012) The President has spent the last few years with a sagging approval rating, and the perception that the economy — the country’s most important problem — is in bad shape. Recent Economist/YouGov Polls suggest that assessment may be changing —and in Obama’s favor, though there is still a great deal of room for improvement.

The President’s approval rating has languished below 50% for well more than a year, ticking upwards after the Democratic National Convention a few weeks ago. In this week’s (pre-debate) poll, presidential approval was back down to preconvention levels: 44% approved of the way President Obama is handling his job, and 52% disapproved.

On the economy, there has also been improvement lately. This week, 29% thought the economy is getting better, among the highest figures in recent years. And more than four in ten approved of how the President is handling this issue, a figure significantly above the lows of last year. But there is room for improvement.

In addition, more than half the public in this week’s poll stated that the country is off on the wrong track. The convention raised the percentage who thought the U.S. is heading in the right direction, but there is a long way to go.

The fact that the public generally likes the President as a person more than they like Mitt Romney is helping Obama in this race. But there are many characteristics on which there can be improvement, some of which have to do with his performance in office. Only 35% of registered voters in this week’s poll thought Mr. Obama is "effective." 38% regarded him as "strong," and 26% saw him as "exciting."

Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here

Photo source: Press Association