PRINCETON, NJ -- President Barack Obama's job approval rating has risen to 56%, by two percentage points his highest three-day reading since October 2009. Although the president's job approval rating has been in the 50% range for much of the time since his re-election, the new high point this week coincides with the aftermath of the Dec. 14 mass school shootings in Newtown, Conn.
The 56% average is for Monday through Wednesday, Dec. 17-19. Obama's job approval had reached 54% during the week prior to the Newtown shootings, but had dropped to 51% from Dec. 11-13, the three days just prior to Dec. 14.
The timing of the increase in Obama's ratings could reflect a broad-based public reaction to the Newtown shootings, similar to the "rally around the flag" effect often seen at the start of wars and other threats to national security, in which Americans rally behind their leader. It could also reflect the impact of the president's specific actions after the tragedy, including his attendance and speech at a Newtown prayer service Sunday night, and his appointment on Wednesday of a national task force to recommend steps that can be taken to reduce gun violence in the future.
The president is also in the middle of continuing negotiations with Speaker of the House John Boehner over a solution to the looming "fiscal cliff" crisis. Gallup polls find that the president gets significantly higher approval ratings on his handling of the fiscal cliff than does Speaker Boehner.
In the current three-day average of Obama's job approval rating, 91% of Democrats approve, along with 54% of independents and 16% of Republicans. The approval rating among Democrats is unchanged from last week, while the approval ratings among independents and Republicans are both up significantly, from 47% and 9%, respectively.
Explore President Obama's approval ratings in depth and compare them with those of past presidents in the Gallup Presidential Job Approval Center.
Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of Gallup Daily tracking Dec. 17-19, 2012, with a random sample of 1,605 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample includes a minimum quota of 400 cellphone respondents and 600 landline respondents per 1,000 national adults, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents by region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cellphone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.
Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, population density, and phone status (cellphone only/landline only/both, cellphone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2011 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older U.S. population. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting.
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.