Just in time for his State of The Union address, the latest ABC News/Washington Post Poll shows that President Obama has garnered a 53 percent favorability rating--much higher than Republican opponents and his highest since April 2010. Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, the two Republican frontrunners at the moment, clock in with 31 and 29 percent favorability ratings respectively.
Apparently Obama's done well out of the spotlight, and his popularity seems to be the clear winner of these debates and primaries (and the subplots that unravel with each one). Romney and Gingrich? Not so much. "Obama may be benefitting from a less-grim economic outlook, but also by comparison to the Republicans, deep in their intramural food fight," ABC's Gary Langer writes, noting that the number of people who see Romney as unfavorable are up by 15 points to 49 percent in just two weeks. "While that reflects a remarkable reversal of fortune for Romney, Gingrich, too, has lost ground, dropping 6 points in favorability since December — and with more than half of Americans, 51 percent, now seeing him unfavorably, up from the low 40s last fall." As political number wizard Nate Silver pointed out earlier this month though, you shouldn't confuse "favorability" with "approval". "In most surveys, Mr. Obama’s favorability ratings are slightly stronger than his approval ratings — Americans take a somewhat more sympathetic view of Mr. Obama personally than of his policies," Silver wrote two weeks ago when Obama's favorable and unfavorable numbers were evenly split.