In the midst of a painful news cycle after last night’s debate, President Barack Obama received a bright sign for re-election. His Gallup approval rating hit 54 percent, jumping to its highest level since November 2009.
His approval rating soared four points from the previous day in Gallup’s three-day rolling average. The last time he matched that came in the Nov. 11-13, 2009 period.
The 54-percent mark puts Obama well above the “safe” 50-percent threshold for an incumbent’s re-election.
Obama’s highest mark this year came in the sunny aftermath of the Democratic National Convention, when he reached 52 percent. Then it tanked, and since then it has fluctuated wildly.
Here’s why the 50 percent threshold is important, per Gallup managing editor Jeffrey M. Jones:
The 50% approval mark is significant because post-World War II incumbent presidents who have been above 50% job approval on Election Day were easily re-elected. Presidents with approval ratings below 50% have more uncertain re-election prospects. Historically, two presidents below 50% in their final approval rating before the election — George W. Bush and Harry Truman — won, and three, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush, lost.
George W. Bush’s approval rating at this point in 2004 was only at 50 percent, so comparatively, Obama is in good shape.
In the Gallup daily tracking poll, Obama leads Romney 49-45. That was unchanged from the previous day.