Popularity points
October 6, 2016

It seems safe to say that President Obama will be going out on a high note.

A new CNN/ORC poll out Thursday pegged Obama's approval rating at 55 percent — a level of popularity he hasn't hit since his first year in office. Though Obama reached that rating twice in his first term, he hadn't yet in his second term. In the last CNN/ORC poll, released in early September, his approval rating was four points lower, at 51 percent.

This marks the second poll in a month to show Obama at his highest approval rating of his second term. A Washington Post/ABC News poll released in mid-September found his rating to be even higher, at 58 percent. Becca Stanek

August 4, 2016

President Obama's approval rating just hit a four-year high, thanks to the Democratic National Convention. A new CNN/ORC poll out Thursday revealed that, after the convention, Obama's approval rating jumped four points to 54 percent, with his biggest boosts coming from young Americans, political moderates, and independents. The rating marks his highest since "just before his second inauguration in 2013," CNN reported.

Obama is now just about tied with the approval ratings former Presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan enjoyed at this point in their own presidencies. Hillary Clinton could reap the benefits of Obama's popularity boost, but CNN pointed out that "a popular president doesn't always bode well from the person running from the same party."

The poll surveyed 1,003 adults and has an overall margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Becca Stanek

December 4, 2015

Hillary Clinton keeps moving further from Bernie Sanders' reach. A new Gallup poll out Friday reveals the former secretary of state has further increased her favorability lead over the Vermont senator, rising 8 points from late September and early October to secure a 21-point lead in favorability.

Now, 76 percent of Democrats say they have a favorable opinion of Clinton, while only 18 percent say they don't, giving her a net positive of +58 points. Sanders' net favorability is +37 points, with 51 percent favorable and 14 percent unfavorable.

In even further bad news for Sanders' already long-shot bid against Clinton is the sweeping nature of her increased favorability — and Sanders' across-the-board declines. While Clinton's favorability rose among women by one point and with young people by seven points, Sanders' ratings went down. Still, he leads Clinton among 18-29 year olds, with 50 percent to Clinton's 39 percent, marking the last demographic group he has a hold on.

The poll's margin of error for both candidates' ratings is plus or minus 4 percentage points. Becca Stanek

November 10, 2015

Ben Carson doesn't have political experience on his side, but he certainly has popularity. A new Washington Post/ABC News poll out Tuesday reveals that the Republican presidential candidate is viewed favorably by half of the country. The last candidate to manage that was Hillary Clinton and "even then, she had significantly more detractors than Carson does today," The Washington Post reports. The retired neurosurgeon has a 50 percent favorability rating, and is viewed unfavorably by 32 percent of the general American population.

Carson's booming favorability comes from more than just fervent GOP supporters. Even though the percentage of independents who view him unfavorably has grown from 23 percent to 35 percent over the last six weeks, Carson still maintains an overall image of favorability among independents, with 47 percent viewing him favorably. Republicans favor Carson 71 percent to 18 percent.

The survey's overall results have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. The margin of error among Republican voters is plus or minus seven points. Becca Stanek

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