Jonathan Chait

Obama's New Base

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With the very major caveat that this could well be a fleeting change, it's interesting that President Obama is shedding support on his left and picking it up in the center:

Liberal Democrats' approval of Obama remained subdued, averaging 80% in the past week, similar to the 79% in the previous week and below the 88% found just prior to the midterm elections. This is based on Democrats as well as independents who lean Democratic.

Obama's approval from liberal Democrats is now on par with that from moderate Democrats (78%), although still higher than conservative Democrats' approval (69%).

In contrast, Obama's approval rating among moderate/liberal Republicans (including independents who lean Republican) has increased in December, rising from 20% to 29% in just the past two weeks. This is his highest level of support from moderate/liberal Republicans since May.

This is helpful to him in a couple ways. First, a vote in the center (as moderate Democrats like to say) is twice as valuable as a vote on the flank, because it adds to your column and subtracts one from the opponent's column. Second, I don't doubt that Obama will be able to firm up the left by November 2012. There will be no shortage of sharp contrasts with the GOP.

 

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