Remember when Barack Obama was headed for inevitable defeat in 2012, after the American public soundly rejected his leftist ways? Well, maybe not so much. Here's the latest on his approval ratings (I've filtered out results from Rasmussen, which are reliably unreliable):
So what happened? Well, the overwhelming majority of the country was pleased with his response to the Arizona shooting, and also the economy is looking slightly less terrible than it was. The latest poll from The Washington Post and ABC News, for instance, has his approval at 54 percent, higher than it has been in a long time. And as Taegan Goddard observes, at this point in Ronald Reagan's first term, his approval was at 37 percent. Does that mean Obama's headed for a cakewalk in 2012? Of course not.
Poll results are fun (for some of us, anyway), but we have a tendency to over-interpret them. I'm sure that right now there are conservatives who look at this uptick and say to themselves, "That doesn't mean anything -- we're still going to beat him next year," just as there are progressives who look at it and say, "Aha, I knew things would come around." Who's right? The answer is that no movement of public opinion now can tell you.
-- Paul Waldman