In what is potentially good news for his 2012 re-election chances, President Obama's approval rating in Pennsylvania appears to be on the rebound.
A new Quinnipiac Poll out this morning finds 51 percent of Pennsylvanians approve of Obama's job performance--the highest number he's posted in the state since fall 2009.
While the latest number tracks with the president's approval rating nationally, it's still a significant milestone for Obama politically. Perhaps no other state in the country had soured on Obama more over the last two years.
Just before his 2009 inauguration, Obama's favorable rating averaged near 65 percent in the state, but amid the state's economic woes and fallout over his health care bill, the president's job approval numbers dropped nearly 20 points over the last two years.
Why are Obama's numbers suddenly improving? According to Quinnipiac, the reversal is due, in part, to Obama's improved standing among so-called independent voters in the state. In the aftermath of the 2010 campaign, the influential voting bloc was divided over Obama's job performance—41 percent approved, 42 percent didn't. But now, 50 percent of independent voters like the job Obama's doing, compared to 46 percent who don't. He's also gained almost 10 points among Democratic voters, who often tend to be swing voters in the state.
But this hardly means Obama's 2012 road will be easy. According to the Quinnipiac, he's lost further ground with GOP voters, 80 percent of whom disapprove of Obama. There's also a gender gap among Pennsylvania voters: 55 percent of women like Obama; 49 percent of men don't.
Meanwhile, a Gallup Poll released today finds voters nationally evenly divided on whether they would support Obama or the still-to-be-determined GOP nominee.
(Photo of Obama: Alex Wong/Getty Images)