President Obama’s approval ratings may be circling the drain, but a new Gallup poll released today shows that they’re slightly less terrible than usual.

Small miracles?

American approval of Obama’s handling of health care and the economy just clocked in at 44%, which represents a three-year high in both categories. The last time Obama did this well in the polls, he had just been elected to his second term; back then, an anemic 44% still represented a significant boost over the President’s first term numbers.

Gallup explains the trend:

Americans have not been as approving of Obama’s performance on the economy since November 2012, just after the president was re-elected to a second term. The 44% he received then was similar to the 45% right before Election Day. Both scores were major improvements from the sub-40% ratings he’d received during much of his first term — including a record low of 26% in August 2011 after contentious negotiations with Congress to raise the debt limit. Obama’s best marks on the economy — between 55% and 59% — came during his first few months in office. Over the past three years, Obama’s economic approval rating has fluctuated, reaching a low of 33% in 2014.

The president’s approval ratings on healthcare policy have stayed within a tighter range. Americans were least approving of his handling of the issue, at 36%, in February 2010 and in November 2014, when his overall job approval rating was near a record low, and were most approving in November 2012, at 49%. His average approval rating for this issue is 41%.

november 16 obama approval

Gallup emphasizes that this poll—which included questions about ISIS and general foreign affairs—was conducted before the Friday night massacre in Paris. Only 37 and 30% of Americans expressed approval of Obama’s handling of foreign affairs and the battle against ISIS, respectively. By and large, the President hasn’t seen a substantial dip this term with regards to sentiment surrounding his foreign policy choices, but approval has dipped since his first term.

Interestingly, although the President is gaining ground with his handling of the health care system in general, most Americans disapprove of the Affordable Care Act.

ACA gallup nov 2015

The golden nugget here? Disapproval is universal—whether we’re talking about those who struggle with the private market, or those who rely on Medicaid or other state-funded programs:

The ACA expands healthcare coverage through various mechanisms, including by expanding eligibility for Medicare and Medicaid, at least for those living in states that have chosen to cooperate in the expansion of these government-run programs. An even greater number of Americans have obtained private health insurance of some variety under the law.

But whether Americans have a private insurance plan or are using Medicaid or Medicare exclusively, they are still more likely to disapprove than approve of the law, according to aggregated data from Gallup’s 2014 and 2015 Healthcare polls. A majority of Americans with health coverage disapprove of the ACA, with 56% of Americans with private insurance plans disapproving and 50% of those using Medicaid or Medicare disapproving.

The cherry on top? Those who have no insurance at all strongly disapprove of the way Obamacare has played out—to the tune of a whopping 59%.

Laugh, or cry?

Follow Amy on Twitter @ThatAmyMiller


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.