Obama's team banks on his 'regular guy' appeal

By KEN THOMAS | October 29, 2011 | 10:35 AM EDT

President Barack Obama talks in between segments of an interview at The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011, in Burbank, Calif. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's team is emphasizing his "regular guy" appeal and hoping that Americans who are frustrated by the weak economy will remember that likeability factor when they vote next year.

A recent Associated Press-GfK poll found that 54 percent of adults had a favorable impression of the president, while 44 percent had an unfavorable one. That's virtually unchanged since the end of his first year in office.

It's also much higher than Obama's job approval rating of 46 percent.

Will it help Obama overcome people's frustration about the economy? That's unclear.

On Obama's recent bus trip through North Carolina and Virginia, he took questions from high school students and surprised lunchtime crowds at restaurants. While out West this past week, he appeared on "The Tonight Show."