President Obama’s Job Approval Rating in Historical Perspective

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.


6 thoughts on “President Obama’s Job Approval Rating in Historical Perspective

  1. The graphs are fascinating in what they show (besides the Obama dump). Reagan never had great popularity, but he did have great support. It was his gift of oratory. You see the same trend with Clinton. Both are noted as great orators.

    Eisenhower never was tested, and for the most part, did not do a lot (some of his plans fell to Kennedy to carry out – or not to as the case was). But you see his popularity was lethargic, on the high side. Kennedy was suffering a decline that, while not mirroring Obama, was about as steep (it just was not continual).

    But the simplicity of pictures, is that while each president was unique, there is a pattern. And Obama is following it.

  2. The great thing about democracy is that everyone gets a vote.

    In relation to Obama’s popularity, considering the legacy he inherited; a broken country, fighting wars on 2 fronts, with an overstretched budget, and a depression looming, I think he is doing a pretty good job, even Santa would have been hated in those conditions.

    I think he deserves a chance to make his own, he is seen as a far more credible President in the UK than Bush ever was.

    1. The problem is that he is not president of the UK. So while I am sure he is doing a “smashing” job there, his performance here is abysmal. If you live in the UK, please take him. We will give you 2 first round draft picks in the future.

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