For the first time since July in PPP polling Barack Obama's approval rating is in positive territory. 48% of voters in the state like the job he's doing to 47% who disapprove of it.
Obama's numbers hit a low point of 45/51 in September before improving to 45/49 in October and 47/47 in November. Over the last three months the biggest shift in his approval has come among independents who disapproved of him then by a 56/39 margin and who still do disapprove of him but now only by a 50/46 spread. He's also seen a slight uptick in his reviews by Democrats, from 74/20 to 77/17.
Health care and Afghanistan are perhaps the two biggest issues on the table for Obama right now and public opinion on them may provide a clue as to why Obama's numbers have gotten better. Health care has been in the spotlight since the summer and the President continues to get poor marks on it from the voters, with 50% of saying they oppose his plan to 41% who are favorable to it. The initial decline in his numbers came as the health care issue heated up.
Getting more attention lately has been Afghanistan and Obama is getting much more support there, with 54% of voters saying they favor his approach to only 31% who are opposed. Even a small plurality of Republicans say they're with Obama on Afghanistan by a 41/40 margin.
Independents say they oppose Obama 51/37 on health care, but they support him 56/32 on Afghanistan. That may help to explain his improving numbers with that group- they turned against him when health care was drowning everything else out and they disagreed with him on that issue but now with other things on the table they're perhaps finding more common ground with him.
As Obama's first year in office comes to a close there's really been no change in his standing with the state's voters from election day 2008. He won by a point then, and he's got a +1 in his approval rating now. The people who voted for him still pretty universally like him, and the people who didn't vote for him still pretty universally dislike him. At least at the statewide level Obama shouldn't have too much of an impact on next year's election in either a positive or negative direction for the Democratic candidates.
Full results here