Nate Silver: Why the scandals aren't hurting Obama

Obama's approval losses could be "offset by improved voter attitudes about the economy," Silver argued

By Jillian Rayfield

Published May 21, 2013 8:20PM (EDT)


New York Times columnist Nate Silver took a look at President Obama's approval ratings, which have held steady despite the controversies over Benghazi, the IRS and the Associated Press, and hypothesized that improvements in the economy might have eased the negative impact of these issues on Obama's poll numbers.

Citing a Tuesday poll from the Washington Post showing that President Obama's approval on the economy is at 48 percent, up from 44 percent in April, Silver writes: "The economic mood may have been lifted by two highly visible indicators — record-breaking stock prices and rebounding housing prices — along with a series of improved jobs reports."

From the Times:

Based on the historical relationship between Mr. Obama’a overall and economic approval ratings in the poll, you’d predict that his overall approval rating would be 53 or 54 percent given an economic approval rating of 48 percent. Instead, it’s 51 percent. So it may be that the talk surrounding Benghazi, the IRS and the Justice Department has negatively affected Mr. Obama’s approval rating by two or three percentage points, but that the economy has lifted his numbers by about the same amount.

Read the full column here.

Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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Barack Obama Benghazi Irs Nate Silver U.s. Economy