Don't Get Too Excited About the Obama Poll Bounce

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 27 2011 10:54 AM

Don't Get Too Excited About the Obama Poll Bounce

Gallup's daily tracking poll gives Barack Obama a positive approval rating -- 47/45 -- for the first time since June. What does it mean? Not too much, actually. In laters December, as voters turn a little less attention to politics (as they should, Washington is laying totally fallow), presidents often bounce a little bit. In 2010, after his party had just suffered an historic election defeat, Obama got a sort of Christmas bounce.

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Compare this to the trend of December 2011.

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Obama started higher in 2010, and ended a couple of points higher. He started at 40 percent in December 2011, which makes the bounce look much more impressive. At the risk of making the punditry-negating statement that ruins all polling analysis, these holiday trends matter less than whether or not voters feel like unemployment is falling in November 2012.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.