President Obama smiles as he delivers remarks after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Obamacare. (Photo: Gary Cameron/Reuters)
Following what was perhaps the most remarkable week in Barack Obama’s presidency — one in which he secured an important victory in Congress on trade, was handed two historic Supreme Court wins (on health care and gay marriage), and delivered a moving eulogy at the funeral of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, leading mourners in singing “Amazing Grace” — his approval rating is at a two-year high.
According to a new CNN/ORC poll released Tuesday, 50 percent of Americans approve of the way Obama is handling his presidency — which is up 5 points over the most recent survey and his highest approval rating since May 2013.
The survey found that 47 percent disapprove of President Obama, which is down 5 points since May (when 52 percent disapproved of his handling of the presidency) and marks just the second time in two years his disapproval rating has fallen below 50 percent.
President Obama walks out of the Oval Office to comment on the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage. (Photo: Gary Cameron/Reuters)
There are two reasons for the jump in Obama’s approval rating, the survey found: his handling of race relations and the economy.
On the economy, 52 percent approve of the job Obama is doing — up 6 points since May and the first time it has been above 50 percent in nearly six years in the CNN/ORC poll.
Meanwhile, 55 percent of Americans approve of the way the president is handling race relations, including his response to the church shooting in Charleston, S.C., where nine people, including Pinckney, were killed by a white gunman on June 17 in what police are treating as a hate crime. Just 42 percent disapprove of how he is handling race relations, the poll found.
Obama’s approval rating, however, is largely divided along racial lines. Among African-Americans, 91 percent approve of the way Obama is handling his presidency, compared with just 39 percent among whites.
“Obama’s approval rating among whites hasn’t been above 50 percent since 2009,” the CNN poll noted, “while his approval rating among African-Americans has rarely dipped below 80 percent.”
President Obama speaks in front of the casket of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston, S.C. (Photo: Reuters/Brian Snyder)
And while a majority of Americans approve of Obama’s handling of race relations, a majority disapprove of the way he’s handling America’s gun policy.
Just 42 percent of Americans approve of the president’s handling of gun policy, while 53 percent disapprove.
Compare that to January 2014 — a month after the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. — when 46 percent approved of the way Obama was handling the gun issue.
Just as he did after Newtown, President Obama called for stricter gun controls in response to the church shooting.
“At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency,” Obama said at the White House a day after the killings. “And it is in our power to do something about it.”