By Justin Sink
Despite controversies over mismanagement at the Department of Veterans Affairs and a prisoner swap to free Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, President Obama’s approval rating held steady last month, according to a new survey from Gallup.
Some 44 percent of respondents said they approved of the president at the end of May, with 51 percent disapproving. That’s identical to the president’s numbers at the end of April.
But while the president appears to have weathered recent storms without further damaging his approval rating, the momentum he enjoyed earlier this year after reporting unanticipated success with enrollments in ObamaCare appears to have dissipated. The president had earned steady, if modest, improvement in his approval ratings from January through mid-April.
“The leveling off has occurred even as economic confidence, as measured by Gallup, is slightly better than it was earlier this year, which might have been expected to help Obama,” said Gallup’s Lydia Saad in a statement.
“Still, Obama's steady approval rating could be a sign of remarkable resilience, given the scrutiny the administration is under regarding the Veterans Affairs scandal, a decline in U.S. GDP in the first quarter, and now questions about the prisoner swap with the Taliban that enabled the return of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.”
But, Saad says, the president’s stalled approval rating “may be encouraging to Republicans hoping to run against a weak president in this fall's midterm elections.”
Obama’s approval rating is moderately better than that of former President George W. Bush at this point in his second term. Bush’s approval rating was holding around 38 percent in June 2006.