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As GOP race continues, voter confidence in Obama improves


Amid better economic news, a declining unemployment rate, and an ongoing -- and combative -- Republican primary campaign, voter confidence in President Obama now stands at a nearly one-year high.

This comes after he reached his all-time low in September.

His score in the msnbc.com Voter Confidence Index is now -21, continuing a five-month trend of an improving VCI.

Besides immediately following Osama bin Laden’s death, the last time Obama’s score was this high was in January 2011.

In September, Obama’s VCI hit -63, a low for his presidency. In October, it jumped nine points to -54, then -53 in November, -45 in December, -30 in January, and -21 in February.

The closer the VCI gets to zero or positive territory, the better historically for presidents up for reelection.

Obama’s current VCI is still 10 points off from George W. Bush’s score of -11 in October 2004, a month before he was narrowly reelected. But it’s far better than the VCIs for Jimmy Carter in 1980 and George H.W. Bush in 1992. Both lost reelection.

Other presidents up for reelection:

1980 - Jimmy Carter -76
1984 - Ronald Reagan +62
1992 - George H.W. Bush -84
1996 - Bill Clinton +18

The VCI is calculated by looking at three numbers in polling – the president’s job approval, the direction of the country, and voters’ preference for which party should control Congress, the so-called congressional  ballot. For more on the VCI, including detailed historical data, a month-by-month look at President Obama’s VCI, and details on how it’s calculated, click here.