Friday, April 12, 2013

Obama Tracks W. Approval...Still

Barack Obama's Gallup approval rating ticked up to 50% today. It's the third time he's reached that mark over the last couple months, but both times previously he fell below 50% the next day; he hasn't had consecutive days at or above 50% since late February. In fact, there's a clear break: through the reading ending February 28 he was at or above 50% all but four days beginning with the November 7-9 survey; after that, 50% has been the peak.

What's fun to look at, at least for me, is that he's still closely tracking George W. Bush's approval ratings. Of course, that wasn't the case in the first three years of Obama's presidency. In the first several months he was more popular than Bush; after September 11, he of course fell far behind Bush's record performance.

But Obama caught Bush in spring 2012 (vs. spring 2004), and ever since they've been within a few points of each other. And so the most recent Bush 2005 poll, April 4-7, has him at...50% approval. Uncanny!

At this point, however, Bush was fading. He managed to spike up again to 50% for May 2-5, but that was the last time he would reach that point. Still, he was in the highish 40s (in other words, where Obama has been for the last six weeks) all the way to mid-July. So unless Obama moves sharply one way or another, they'll still be pretty close for a while.

No real larger point here. The two of them, Bush and Obama, were the least popular presidents re-elected after a full term during the polling era, and that's still true now, five months after the election. Not for long, though; Nixon is about to dive down below both of them.

8 comments:

  1. In the entire post-WW2 period, there have only been six presidents (of the twelve serving during this era) re-elected after a full term (Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, GW Bush, Obama.) So being one of the "two least popular" (or for that matter "two most popular") of the six doesn't really mean much...

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    1. Well, it means GWB and BHO were less popular than the other four. Didn't mean to imply anything more, but fair enough.

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  2. This isn't surprising to me at all. The current polarization is going to keep high approval ratings pretty low historically and low approval ratings fairly high, barring an unforeseen scandal, economic crash, war, etc. to shift partisans there's just not going to be the movement.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. People say that, but George W. Bush had the all-time high, and only Truman and Nixon ever had a lower low. So perhaps, but perhaps not.

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  3. I know Gallup has been the standard of polling going back far enough to track this stuff, but now that they've lost their shine is there another, better poll to use and compare back to the golden days of Gallup? I don't have a solution, but seem to underrepresent a lot of the core constituencies of Democrats. Not saying it would change the number, in fact Pew has him at 47%, but should we move on from Gallup? Pew seems to have a slightly better track record, maybe.

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    1. TPM's aggregate polltracker, maybe.

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  4. Amazingly, JFK was never below 56% in Gallup:

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/sep/23/michele-bachmann/michele-bachmann-says-barack-obama-has-lowest-publ/

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