Late last week, when our Daily Kos tracking poll came out, I noted a dramatic shift in the numbers for President Obama, a shift that actually preceded his address on health care before a joint session on Congress.
Subsequent surveys, from a wide variety of polling outfits, have echoed the same shift in trends. On topics ranging from the president's handling of the delicate health care crisis to the more generic question of approval/favorability, President Obama has enjoyed a revival in his polling numbers this week.
On the simple question of job approval, consider the numbers that we have seen over the past week (source for data is here):
Job Approval Ratings For President Obama
On Message (R) (9/10): 55/43
Anzalone-Liszt (D) (9/10-9/11): 56/41
ABC/Washington Post (9/10-9/12): 54/43
USA Today/Gallup (9/11-9/13): 54/43
CNN/ORC (9/11-9/13): 58/40
Bloomberg (9/11-9/14): 56/37
The ten polls (discounting daily trackers) preceding this set of data had an average approval of 51.8%, with an average disapproval of 42.4%. Therefore, in that time frame (roughly two weeks), Obama enjoyed a net job approval of +9.4%.
In the six polls conducted since the speech(es), his average approval has risen to 55.5%, while his average disapproval has receded slightly to 41.2%. Thus, Obama's net job approval in the week following his addresses is +14.3%.
This is not enormous movement, but it is palpable movement, nevertheless. It also represents, perhaps more importantly, a shift in what had been a nagging downtrend for the President for most of the latter half of the summer.
Looking at some of the internal numbers in some of these surveys, a big part of Obama's post-speech surge seems to be attributed (as it was in our tracking poll) to the base coming home. Whether positively motivated by the president's words, or negatively motivated by the boorish behavior of Joe Wilson in particular or the GOP in general (on BOTH the education and HCR speeches, by the by), it is clear that Democrats are more satisfied with their leader than they have been in many weeks.
Furthermore, there seems to be at least some hint that the bounce Obama has enjoyed over the last week is actually extending to his Democratic colleagues in Congress. Looking ahead to 2010, Bloomberg polled a generic Congressional ballot test, and found the Democrats staked to a healthy (if not overpowering) eight-point advantage.
The Daily Kos Tracking Poll from last week saw movement on this question, albeit more modest in nature (the Democrats went from a three-point edge to a five-point lead).
Surprisingly, the biggest leap occurred with one of the more GOP-friendly pollsters in the game. Rasmussen Reports, which had the GOP staked a lead all summer on the ballot test (one of the few pollsters to do so until fairly recently) found that their edge for the GOP on the ballot test was sliced from seven points last week to a single point this week. This represents the biggest one-week swing on that question for them in this electoral cycle.
After a late summer spent trying to secure some kind of positive momentum, President Obama and the Democrats appear, at least temporarily, to have done so. Whether he (and they) can fashion this into a bounce with some legs, or whether this surge is just a blip on the radar, remains to be seen.