According to Gallup’s daily tracking poll, President Obama’s job approval rating has seen a nice little bounce in the wake of the Nobel Peace Prize announcement last Friday. From a term-low 50% approval rating a week ago, Obama’s rating now sits at 56%. That uptick certainly seems to defy the conventional wisdom among the chattering classes about Obama’s victory. The responses from the commentariat ran from frothing-at-the-mouth outrage from the usual conservative suspects to slightly abashed cheers from the president’s supporters. But hardly anyone saw the award as an unalloyed good.
But as we have learned repeatedly over the years, what passes for beltway CW hardly applies to the rest of the country. When you extricate yourself from the myopic maelstrom that is Washington punditry, you realize that most Americans actually have common-sense views that aren’t infected by who-up-who’s-down overanalysis. For many Americans, a sitting president winning the Nobel Peace Prize is, in fact, an unapologetically good thing. Obama, who has displayed an impressive ability to disregard the noise of cable and commentary, again showed sound instincts, accepting the award with humility and as a call to action, rather than turning down the prize, as some on both right and left urged. (As if this no-nonsense president would even consider making such a melodramatic gesture.)
Breaking down the Gallup numbers further, it appears that the bump has come strictly from Independents (up nine points) and Republicans (up eight). (Democratic numbers did not change.) This might suggest, as Gallup warns, that the bounce could be fleeting. But it also tells us that even with the right-wing explosion about the award, those most likely to be swayed had their own ideas. It affirms what the Obama campaign bet on during the campaign: When it comes to public opinion, Americans are pretty good about blocking out the media narrative du jour.