A second national poll out on Tuesday shows President Obama's approval rating ticking up to 49 percent among all Americans, and the president now leads his Republican rivals by significant margins among registered voters.
According to the CNN/ORC International poll, 49 percent of Americans approve of the job Obama is doing as president, while 48 percent disapprove. In the previous poll, conducted in mid-November, 44 percent approved of Obama's performance, and 54 percent disapproved.
His 49 percent approval rating represents Obama's best performance in a CNN/ORC International poll since late May, after the killing of Osama bin Laden. A new ABC News/Washington Post poll also showed Obama's approval rating jumping to 49 percent.
As Congress struggles to approve year-end extenders amid heavy criticism from the White House, the poll shows Obama is winning the public-opinion battle against the GOP: 50 percent of Americans have more confidence in Obama "to deal with the major issues facing the country today," while just 31 percent have more confidence in congressional Republicans. Among independents, 47 percent have more confidence in Obama, compared with only 28 percent who have more confidence in the GOP.
In mid-March, Americans were divided on whom they trusted: 44 percent had more confidence in Obama, while 39 percent trusted congressional Republicans.
Obama has also improved significantly against his main GOP rivals. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney led Obama by 4 points in mid-November, but now Obama leads Romney, 52 percent to 45 percent -- Obama's best performance against Romney since May.
Obama also leads former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, 56 percent to 40 percent, double his 8-point lead in mid-November. Rep. <strong>Ron Paul</strong>, R-Texas, runs closer to Obama, trailing him by the same, 52-percent-to-45 percent spread as does Romney.
Obama posts a 19-point lead over Rep. <strong>Michele Bachmann</strong>, R-Minn., 57 percent to 38 percent, and an 18-point lead over Texas Gov. Rick Perry, 57 percent to 39 percent.
The CNN/ORC International poll was conducted Dec. 16-18, surveying 1,015 adults. Results for the full sample have a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent. The general-election matchups were asked among 928 registered voters; those results have a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percent.