President Obama’s approval rating has risen to 56 percent in the latest AP-GfK poll, up from 50 percent in September and the first time since January that his approval has gone up in the poll. Thirty-nine percent said they disapprove of his job performance — down from 49 percent last month.
Among the poll’s other findings: 41 percent say the country is headed in the right direction, compared with 37 percent who said so in September; 50 percent approved of Obama’s handling of the economy, and 48% approved of his handling of health care.
In fact, the president fared better on his handling of every individual issue except one: the war in Afghanistan, on which 46 percent said they approved and 41 percent disapproved, unchanged since last month. Overall, 40 percent said they favored the war in Afghanistan (down slightly from September), while 57 percent said they opposed it.
But while Obama’s numbers are up, Democrats have lost their edge in the 2010 congressional elections, according to a new Gallup survey that shows voters closely divided on whether they would rather support a Democrat or a Republican for Congress next year.
“Forty-six percent of registered voters say they would vote for the Democrat, and 44 percent say the Republican when asked which party’s candidate they would support for Congress if the election were held today,” Gallup reported.
In July, the Democratic Party held a 6-percentage-point lead on the same question — 50 percent to 44 percent, Gallup said.
Both surveys “show a more competitive political environment than Gallup has generally seen since before the Democrats regained control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2006 midterm elections,” the polling company said. “Closer to elections, Gallup bases its results on ‘likely voters.’ Doing so typically improves the Republicans’ positioning by several points; thus, when Democrats lead slightly among registered voters, it is possible for Republicans to be ahead among likely voters.”