Gallup’s Presidential Job Approval Rating for October 17, 2011 shows a familiar but unfavorable trend for President Obama. Though a drastic decline in approval ratings happens to most, if not all presidents, Obama dipping under the 40% approval threshold before his first term is up indicates that his re-election bid is entering danger territory.
In the WSJ archives, one finds the history of presidential job approval ratings going back to Harry S. Truman. Let us examine Obama’s present approval ratings versus past presidents in the third year of their first term.
Those presidents who have dipped under the 40% approval rating and have not jumped sharply up, do not recover. This includes Truman (whose approval ratings were high before his first election), Johnson, Ford, Nixon (before he resigned), and George H.W. Bush. Kennedy was assassinated before his second election, but enjoyed high approval ratings. Full two term presidents include Eisenhower, Reagan, and Clinton, who all had near 60% approval ratings before they were re-elected. Two termer George W. Bush was around 50%. Obama is not even close to that mark.