Generally, the public's approval of Obama has risen with the economy's climb from recession.
The unemployment rate dropped to 8.3 percent in January, the lowest level in nearly three years. The housing market is flashing signs of health ahead of the spring buying season, with mortgage rates still low, sales of previously occupied homes at their highest level since May 2010, and more first-time buyers making purchases.
The nation is far from a full recovery. Millions of Americans remain out of work. And Wall Street investors still worry over the details of Greece's economic bailout plan.
According to the poll, Obama's overall approval rating ticked upward slightly, from 44 percent in December to 49 percent now.
The 9-point approval increase for his handling of the economy comes from Democrats and independents, constituencies crucial to Obama's re-election hopes. Among Democrats, his approval on the economy has shot from 67 percent to 83 percent. Among independents, 49 percent now approve, up from 38 percent in December.
Obama also gained support among women during a period in which his administration seemed to stumble over whether religious employers should be forced to pay for contraception. In overall approval, Obama rebounded from 43 percent among women in December to 53 percent now, according to the survey.
And half of all adults now say Obama deserves to be re-elected, a 7-point rise from December that reverses a downward trend that had been in place since May.
More than eight in 10 Democrats say he should be elected to a second term, and half of all independents feel the same way, the survey found.
The AP-GfK poll was conducted Feb. 16-20 by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications. It involved landline and cellphone interviews with 1,000 adults nationwide and had a margin of error of 4.1 percent.
AP Deputy Director of Polling Jennifer Agiesta, Associated Press writer Stacy A. Anderson and News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius contributed to this report.
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