Obama’s Electability

There’s a new WaPo/ABC poll out today, providing Barack Obama with some good news. Taken only partially after Friday’s encouraging jobs report, it shows the incumbent with a net positive job approval rating, a 50% “re-elect” number and a six-point lead over Mitt Romney. Respondents generally liked what they heard from Obama in the SOTU address, and don’t like what they are hearing from the GOP presidential field. More than 70% favor higher taxes on millionaires, a proposal on which congressional Democrats are pressing for a vote.

The rising “re-elect” number is particularly significant, since it indicates the incumbent might have a decent chance of winning in November even if he does not succeed in making the election turn on negative perceptions of the Republican nominee. It’s worth noting that Obama’s “re-elect” percentage is currently higher than Bill Clinton’s was at an equivalent moment in his re-election year.

It’s just one poll (albeit a very influential one among opinion-leaders) at an especially auspicious juncture. But it’s a sign that if the economy continues to show slow but steady improvement, and if Republicans continue to wrangle over which candidate is most determined to shower wealthy “job creators” with praise and lower tax rates, while rattling sabers towards Iran and promising to assault reproductive rights, Obama’s in reasonably good shape heading towards November.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.