U.S. President Barack Obama’s approval rating continues to rise, according to a poll by Reuters and Ipsos released Thursday. Around 46 percent of Americans approve of his performance and 33 percent believe the country is headed in the “right direction” with Obama at the helm.
The poll also found Americans are optimistic about the future of American oil. Forty-five percent of Americans think oil companies should be allowed to export oil out of the country, marking the first major shift in opinion since Reuters began asking Americans about oil exports in October 2013. Until now, Americans were largely split over the question. The federal government banned oil exports in 1975.
The rise in support of oil exports is believed to be due to low gas prices at the pump and the increasing number of politicians from both sides of the aisle calling for a re-examination of the ban, Reuters said. Oil briefly hit a six-year low on Thursday when it dropped to $43.58 at around 11 a.m. before rising to $44.53. A growth in oil production in the U.S. and Canada in recent years and OPEC's refusal to curb production has sent oil plummeting over the last few months, which can be explained here.
Despite the growth in favor of oil exports, only 30 percent of Americans said they “know a fair amount about American oil production.”
Presidential approval ratings were found to correlate with lower gas prices, although the two “are not perfect reflections of each other,” according to a 2011 examination by the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. The center found the correlation to be true for presidents Jimmy Carter, Obama and George W. Bush. Gas prices leveled somewhat this week, stopping a record four-month daily decline, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The price of gas has dropped dramatically since last summer. As of Jan. 26, a gallon costs American drivers just over $2 on average, down a dollar from late October of last year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Obama’s approval rating has steadily risen to the mid-40s from around 41 percent over that same period, according to RealClearPolitics.
The poll surveyed 1,611 Americans from Jan. 24 to 28; 144 more Democrats were surveyed than Republicans, while 211 independents were polled. The poll had a 2.8 percent margin of error.