If it's in the News, it's in our Polls. Public opinion polling since 2003.


Reading the Signs on the Road to Obama’s Reelection

President Obama on Monday became the first officially declared candidate for the 2012 presidential race, and the early signs suggest it could be a competitive contest.

The president’s overall job approval rating has been around 46% or 47% for the past year and a half.  That number is the best single indicator of his reelection prospects since incumbents usually end up with a share of the vote that’s pretty close to their job approval rating.

Barring a major foreign policy surprise, the biggest issue of Election 2012 is likely to be the U.S. economy. More specifically, it may be the way that people are feeling about their own finances. At the moment, the trend is not encouraging. Just before Lehman Brothers collapsed in September 2008, 43% of Americans rated their personal finances as good or excellent. That fell to 38% on the night Obama won the White House that November and 35% on the day he was inaugurated in January 2009. The downward trend has continued, and just 30% now rate their own finances in such positive terms.

“If you had to pick just one number that would improve the president’s chances for reelection, this would be it,” Scott Rasmussen explains. “If people feel better about their own finances, the president’s job approval will move up. If the personal finance number declines any further, the president could be in trouble.”

Want to read more?

Become a Rasmussen Reader to read the article

Have an account?

Log In

Become a Reader


Rasmussen Reports is a media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information.

We conduct public opinion polls on a variety of topics to inform our audience on events in the news and other topics of interest. To ensure editorial control and independence, we pay for the polls ourselves and generate revenue through the sale of subscriptions, sponsorships, and advertising. Nightly polling on politics, business and lifestyle topics provides the content to update the Rasmussen Reports web site many times each day. If it's in the news, it's in our polls. Additionally, the data drives a daily update newsletter and various media outlets across the country.

Some information, including the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll and commentaries are available for free to the general public. Subscriptions are available for $4.95 a month or 34.95 a year that provide subscribers with exclusive access to more than 20 stories per week on upcoming elections, consumer confidence, and issues that affect us all. For those who are really into the numbers, Platinum Members can review demographic crosstabs and a full history of our data.

To learn more about our methodology, click here.