It’s been a pretty good month at the White House. While Republicans continued dinging each other in successive primaries, Obama resisted efforts to pull him into the election just yet. He emerged largely unscathed on the hottest issues of the past week as he demonized Rush Limbaugh, deflected blame about high gas and scolded Republican candidates for loose-talk about war with Iran. “This is not a game,” he said during his Tuesday press conference, trying to sound like the government’s only adult.
Add to the equation the slow recovery of the economy. Today’s job numbers paint another favorable portrait for Obama: unemployment staying steady at 8.3 percent feeds the president’s argument that the economy is getting better, and he deserves more time to continue the trend.
Polling shows that the argument is working. For most of 2011, Obama’s disapproval ratings were higher than his approvals, dangerous footing on which to launch a reelection bid. But since early February, the approvals have crept up. According to a polling average assembled by Real Clear Politics, Obama’s approval is now at 49.2 percent. His disapproval is a full two points lower, a trend that has widened over the past month.
That’s good news for Obama’s campaign. Officials in Chicago are enjoying the GOP slugfest, watching money and approval disappear from each candidate’s coffers, especially Mitt Romney, who revealed yesterday in public disclosure filings that his campaign only has $7.2 million in the bank. But Team Obama also knows the occasionally painful reality of politics, that good and bad news come in cycles. The climate may look promising now, but eight months stand between now and election day, an eternity during which any issue – gas prices, Iran, economic sluggishness – could quickly change the narrative.