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Inside the Boiler Room: Obama's rising poll numbers

Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro give their analysis on why President Obama's poll numbers are rising, and whether or not taking his message to the American people is helping his cause.


Thanks Feisty Readhead for the question! Be sure to look out for new Inside the Boiler Room segments next week. And as always, post your questions for Mark and Domenico on the blog. You can also tweet us, @NBCFirstRead@mmurraypolitics or@DomenicoNBC, or post on our Facebook page.

Transcribed by NBC's Annie Emberland and Laura Olson.


DOMENICO MONTANARO: Hi there again, I’m Domenico Montanaro. Welcome to another edition of Inside the Boiler Room again with my colleague Mark Murray, and Mark, it looks like we wore the uniform, ready to play?

MARK MURRAY: Road uniforms in college football?

DOMENICO MONTARO: Well, football…basketball it’s, you know, these are the home uniforms. We’re here at NBC, so I’ll say we’re at home. Alright, Feisty, you know, she always gets the first answer, here’s her first question. She says--What is your analysis for President Obama’s recent rise in polling? Does taking his message to the people have anything to do with it? Do you think after assessing the current Republican field, moderates and independents are saying thanks, but no thanks? It’s early, we haven’t gotten through a Republican primary yet. But, Mark, what are your thoughts?

MARK MURRAY: Well, there are a couple of polls that are out there that have shown a bump for President Obama, but it’s important to note that these are just two polls. It does not make a trend. What we have seen in the Quinnipiac poll that Obama’s approval went from about 41, 42 percent to 47 percent, and then Gallup has actually shown a little bit of improvement for President Obama. I do think a couple of things are going on, and, it’s important to note, our own NBC/Wall Street Journal poll is going to be coming out on Monday, and so, if that also shows a rise, then we do seem to have enough elements for a trend.

DOMENICO MONTANARO: That’s when we know it’s real…because it’s the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.

MARK MURRAY: Right, it’s our poll. But, a couple things, Obama’s had a pretty good last couple of weeks. I mean, you have the end of the Iraq war announcement, you had the killing of Khaddafy, you also had some pretty good economic news, and it’s potentially the jobs number report that might come out, might be pretty good on Friday as well. So, you’re seeing a little bit of this. I would say, that if anything is going to benefit Obama in the three or four months, it going to be so much of a focus on the Republicans. And, in their current fight, he gets to go in the shadows, gets to rehabilitate his image while all the focus is on the latest on Herman Cain, the latest on Rick Perry, etcetera.

DOMENICO MONTANARO: Now, I was just going to say, the focus hasn’t been on him, so there is that advantage because the Republicans are duking it out, you’re seeing some of the dirt flying, so of course that’s going to benefit him in that—Khaddafy’s death, you know, Obama taking stuff on the road, kind of having something to run on and having something to run against with Congress, I think has probably been effective. All of the things that are in the jobs plan are poll tested, you know. He’s like—I know the American people like this—well, yeah, he sees the polls that they’re fairly popular items. So, and there isn’t anything that has to pass or not pass or whatever, so you have those two things—running with something and against someone—then you have the makings of a messaging campaign. He’s firing up the base. Whereas if, think a couple months ago, there was a little bit more wrangling among the base. You know, there was maybe tiny drop-offs, but not very much. But independents, I think, some of the stuff they’ve tailored to see if independents like this stuff, and you probably see slight ticks up with independents. You know, maybe with what’s happening in the Republican field, but the choice is not between Barack Obama and the field yet. The choice is between those Republican candidates, and I think people really aren’t that tuned in. You know, I’m glad Feisty, you know, you’re tuned in and all of our commenters are, thankfully, keep us employed, but I think most Americans, if you’re looking at a general election, they don’t tune it until much later.  

MARK MURRAY: Couple things to look at. One, in about the next six months or so, the President Obama’s approval is closer to fifty percent than it is now, that’s a very good sign for him. Also keep an eye, Feisty, on what the situation on the right track, wrong track. A lot of those numbers right now in around the 20 percent or so, closer to 40 percent, you know, in the high thirties. That’s where President Obama would be to end up getting reelected. Thank you.