Obama job rating rising in California

President Obama’s job rating is on the rise in California, with more than half of those surveyed now approving of his performance.

The Field Poll’s survey of 1,003 registered voters showed the president with a 53 percent approval rating and with commanding, double-digit leads over potential GOP contenders in a November general election matchup. Thirty-nine percent disapproved of the president’s performance and 8 percent had no opinion.

The survey showed a marked improvement for Obama: It is the first time since last June that his job approval has exceeded 50 percent. His disapproval rating has dropped from 44 percent last fall to 39 percent now.

“This has been accompanied by an increase in Californians’ desire to reelect Obama to a second term,” the survey noted. “This is manifested best when he is matched against each of the leading candidates running for the GOP nomination in general election simulations.” About half of those surveyed said they were inclined to reelect Obama to a second term, a figure that has hovered near that level consistently for the past year except for November 2011, when it dipped to 45 percent.

Against Republicans, the Field poll reported Obama leading former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in a potential matchup by 20 percentage points, and he enjoyed a 28-point lead over former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum. Obama led former House Speaker Newt Gingrich by 23 points.

Last fall, Obama led Romney margins of 10 to 13 points, the survey noted.

The survey noted that Obama’s increase in support vis-à-vis Romney may be attributed to “support for the president among the state’s nonpartisan voters. Three months ago, Obama and Romney were dividing the preferences of these voters about evenly. Now, Obama is preferred by a greater than 2-to-1 margin, 59 percent to 27 percent.”

The survey was conducted Feb. 2-18, and has a margin of error of 3.1 percent, with margin of error of 4.5 percent for subsamples.

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