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.

Screen shot 2011-12-27 at 10.47.41 AM

Compare this to the trend of December 2011.

Screen shot 2011-12-27 at 10.48.18 AM

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 reporter for Bloomberg Politics

  Slate Plus
Dec. 18 2014 4:49 PM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 17 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked a middle school principal about his workday.
Future Tense
Dec. 19 2014 8:30 AM The Wrong Way to Respond to the Snowden Revelations Some countries want to wall off their Internet from the United States to avoid surveillance. But there’s a better solution.