Obama's ratings climb as public support surges

The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows a boost in Obama's approval numbers and the perception among Americans that he is more moderate. Unemployment, however, remains a sticking point among those polled.

But public concern is coalescing around the stubbornly high unemployment rate, now 9.4 percent, a potential pitfall for the president. If rising optimism about the economic recovery dwindles, the surge of support could fade, pollsters cited by the Wall Street Journal said.

In the survey, 53 percent said they approved of the job Obama is doing as the president, up eight percentage points from December. Forty-one percent said they disapprove of the president's performance, down from 48 percent last month. The poll surveyed 1,000 adults Jan 13-17.

Among political independents, positive views of Obama's job performance surpassed negative views for the first time since August 2009, the Journal reported.

For the first time in a year, Obama drew a positive reaction from white adults, when asked about their feelings toward Obama.

The poll comes after December's lame-duck session of Congress gave Obama the chance to tack to the centre to notch major bipartisan victories on taxes and arms control, while winning the long-sought liberal goal of allowing gays to serve openly in the military, the Journal noted.

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