WASHINGTON -- The increase in President Barack Obama's job-approval ratings seen in January appears to be holding. That's the takeaway from a handful of the new surveys conducted since both the State of the Union Address and the mass protests in Egypt. While the Egypt crisis may dominate the news, it is not making a measurable dent in perceptions of the president.
A new national survey from the Pew Research Center, confirms the trend, showing his job approval rating rising from 44 percent in November to 49 percent. That result is consistent with most of the other surveys released over the last week or so. Most are showing that the gains reported in Obama's approval rating last month at least holding, and in some cases his approval is continuing to climb. The HuffPost Pollster Obama job approval chart, whose lines are based on the underlying trends indicated by all public polls, shows a continuing rise in Obama's rating since December.
Over the weekend, several pundits noted a decline in the Gallup Daily tracking between a high of 51 percent on a survey conducted Jan. 19-21 to a low of 45 percent earlier this week, and speculated about whether the Egyptian protests explained the apparent change. But Gallup's approval number has moved back up to 48 percent as of this writing.
Those who follow the tracking surveys need to remember that the daily results fluctuate randomly within their usual 3-percent margin of error. If we look closer at the trends reported by all of the national polls that have tracked Obama's approval since the Egypt protests, there is no consistent pattern. The variation in the Gallup and Rasmussen polls all occurred within the sampling error of our trend estimate line. If anything, the overall pattern indicates a slight, continuing increase.
Another way of considering the same numbers is to calculate the average result for each pollster, before and after January 25, as in the table below (which also includes single survey results from the Pew Research and Reuters/Ipsos). Again, the nominal changes are inconsistent: Two pollsters show slight declines, four show slight increases.
For the Obama administration, no change is good news, at least for the moment. One theory would attribute Obama's gains in January to unusually-positive coverage following the lame-duck session of Congress in December and his Tucson and State of the Union speeches in January. So far, at least, the return to a more typical "two-message" environment has not caused the bump to fade.