Sunday, January 17, 2016
Obama's Approval Is Not As Bad As Some Want You To Think
These days we are bombarded with stories of President Obama's supposedly poor approval ratings. Just listening to this stories, one could be forgiven for believing that President Obama is one of the most unpopular presidents we have had -- worse than the president's that came before him. That is false, and not even close to the truth.
Let us remember that the president's approval is over 30 points higher than the approval of Congress, and that has been true for several years now. While the president's job approval is in the mid-to-high 40's, that of Congress is in the low double-digits (and some polls still show them in single-digits). The public is pretty much split over the job the president is doing, but they are almost unanimous in disapproving of the job Congress is doing.
Also note the two charts above (from the Pew Research Center). They peg the president's current approval at about 46%. That's below the approval President Clinton had at this point in his presidency, and above President Bush's approval at this point in his presidency. It is roughly equal to the job approval of President Reagan at this point in his presidency. That's nothing to be ashamed of.
It is also true that the lowest approval number of President Obama (41%) is higher than the lowest approval numbers of any of the eight presidents that came before Obama (Bush II, Clinton, Bush I, Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, and Johnson). All of those presidents had their lowest approval in the 30's or 20's.
The president with the lowest approval rating was George W. Bush (22%) -- two points lower than Richard Nixon after being impeached (24%). George W. Bush also had the biggest difference between his highest approval rating (86% right after the 9/11 tragedy) and his lowest approval rating (22% as he left office) -- a huge 64 point drop.
Everything considered (including the immense hatred directed at him by the teabaggers and other Republicans), I think President Obama's job approval numbers are pretty respectable. And I have no doubt that after he leaves office, he will be remembered fondly by most Americans.