There's a 'media context' that induces bumps such as these. The president is getting good press nowadays, so his numbers have gone up; during the campaign, with the Republican message machine running at full speed, his numbers went down as he got bad press. Next, there's a 'structural context,' which sets the broad parameters of his approval rating. This revolves around the big issues -- jobs, the deficit, the price of gas, the health care bill, etc. What we have seen in the last few weeks is that the media context has improved significantly for the president, but the structural context really hasn't changed much at all.I take that to mean that the Tea Party movement has altered the "structural context." That doesn't mean that the structural context wont be changed again before the 2012 election. Eternal vigilance.
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