Americans’ Rising Optimism on Economy Hasn’t Boosted Obama’s Favorability

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Survey says... Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

According to the latest Gallup-USA Today poll, President Obama's favorable rating is 50 percent, "higher than the GOP presidential contenders but lower than every nominee in the past five presidential contests at this point except Republican Bob Dole, who lost in 1996," USA Today writes. Fifty percent said Obama's presidency has been a failure while 44 percent said they see it as a success. At the same time, three-to-one answered that the economy is expanding, and 60 percent said it will be growing a year from now.

In a Quinnipiac poll released Thursday, 54 percent said they believe the economy is getting better, a marked jump from the 28 percent who said so in September. But according to the same poll, the president's approval rating has risen from only 44 percent in November to 45 percent now.

But have the good signs and good feelings on the economy lasted long enough to translate in the polls? And what about that aesthetically pleasing Dow Jones milestone?

“There’s usually a lag effect, and also it’s the directionality more than the absolute level [that matters],” Democratic pollster Celinda Lake Celinda Lake said. “What most studies are showing is that personal confidence in the economy is going up and that the president’s personal job approval is going up too.”

But where Democrats see a lag effect, Republicans see a "polling gap":

“Americans know that any improvement in the economy is not because of Obama’s policies but in spite of them,” said Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski. “Between stubbornly high unemployment, energy prices, housing and the cost of groceries, there are many indicators that make Americans skeptical of Obama’s handling of the economy.”

The Gallup/USA-Today poll also contained some pretty damning responses concerning the GOP:

The two leading presidential candidates, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, have favorable ratings significantly lower than any nominee in the past five elections at this point in the election year. Most Republican voters say they wish someone else was seeking the nomination.

Which is the only response that really matters right now for Obama.