(NEW YORK) — President Obama has advanced to his highest personal popularity since his first year in office, and Americans who’ve formed an opinion of his second inaugural address last week broadly approve of it, the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll finds.
At the same time, Obama’s favorability rating is lower than that of two of the last three re-elected presidents as they started their second terms, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan. He’s in better shape compared with the third, George W. Bush.
Sixty percent of Americans now express a favorable opinion of Obama overall, up 10 points since last summer, in the heat of the presidential race. His popularity peaked at 79 percent days before he took office four years ago, and last saw the 60s in November 2009.
Obama’s approval rating for his inaugural address last week is lower — 51 percent approve in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, but just 24 percent disapprove, a 2-1 ratio in favor of the speech. A quarter of Americans have no opinion of it either way.
Favorability — which differs from job approval — is the most basic rating of a public figure’s personal popularity. Obama’s exceeds Bush’s at the start of his second term by 5 percentage points, but trails Clinton’s by 5 and Reagan’s by 12.
Intensity of sentiment is a plus for Obama: More have a “strongly” favorable opinion of him than a strongly unfavorable one, 39 vs. 26 percent, and twice as many strongly approve of his inaugural speech as disapprove. It’s the first time he’s been significantly more strongly popular than unpopular since early 2010.
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