7:38pm August 23, 2010

Obama Approval Ratings at Record Low


Despite his personal favorability ratings, the White House is fretting over President Obama’s most recent job performance numbers at 43%.  Weekly Gallup polls show the President at one percentage point below his rating from the previous week.  Reports Frank Newport of Princeton, NJ-based Gallup:

The new low also marks the first weekly average in which 50% of Americans disapprove of Obama’s job performance. The erosion reflects particularly low ratings at the beginning of last week, including 41% for Aug. 15-17 and Aug. 16-18, the lowest three-day averages of his administration. By the end of the week, however, Obama’s job ratings inched up, averaging 44% approval Aug. 20-22.

Still, Newport offers some historical context for the approval ratings while comparing Obama to previous Presidents:

Obama’s current 43% rating is well below the job approval ratings for both Presidents Bush at this point in their second year in office, but at roughly the same level as Presidents Clinton, Reagan, and Carter. None of the three presidents who were in the 40% range in August of their second year got back to 50% by the time of the midterm elections.

While the Gallup poll places the President at 43%, the RealClearPolitics aggregated poll (which combines and averages all the major political polls released each week) finds the President with a 46% approval rating.

Still, the Administration is now behind its predecessors when comparing Presidencies since Reagan, according to Tom Riehle, Washington Pollster for YouGov.com.  “This is a President waiting for one clear success,” Riehle tells Politic365.com.  “In the absence of a clear victory his percentage and approval rating continues to go down.  Clear success is when people look at him and say ‘my life looks better.’  That’s not happening on a large scale, yet – he’s not getting credit for consumer protection reform, not getting full credit for health care nor for the withdrawal of troops in Iraq.  He’s waiting for one major event that everyone can point to and give him credit for it.”

Political analyst Brian Taylor partly agrees with that assessment, but still sees a ray of hope for the President.  “First and foremost, this is par for the course.  Clinton and Reagan’s approval ratings around this time were similar.  This is simply the byproduct of a struggling economy and a microwave society that believes corporate greed, lack of reform and out-of-control spending can be fixed in two years,” Taylor observes in an interview with Politic365.com.

Interestingly enough, the President’s personality ratings in a recent Associated Press poll rank him at 4th with 56% – while his wife, Michelle Obama, is way ahead in 1st place with a personality rating of 69%.  Former President Bill Clinton and his wife Secretary of State Hillary Clinton place 2nd and 3rd place, respectively, ahead of the President.

About the Author

Charles Ellison
Charles D. Ellison, Managing Editor for Politic365.com, Washington Correspondent for The Philadelphia Tribune and a weekly political analyst providing insight on WDAS-FM (Philadelphia), WVON-AM (Chicago) and KSRO-AM (Sonoma County, CA). He is author of the critically-acclaimed urban political thriller TANTRUM. More information can be found at http://www.cdellison.com



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  1. Mark Thompson

    Obama is no Reagan! Reagan came into office with low approval ratings and lower expectations where Obama came in on high approval nubers and high expectaions.

    Reagan inherited a bigger economic mess than Obama , if those reading this is old enough to remember double digit unemployment, prime interest, and inflation. Reagan majored in economics in college while Obama majored in law. Reagan was a union president, governor ( who turned California around ) and a uniter. Obama was a community organizer, ACORN lawyer, U.S. Senator.

    Reagan was a conservative constitutionalist, Obama a liberal socialist. Reagan believed in smaller government, Obama has expanded government. Reagan said what he met and met what he said plainly and clearly. Obama says what you want to hear and does the opposite. Reagan was a devout Christian and Obama is a quasi Islamic/Christian.

    Reagan never had conservative media like Fox today and had the liberal lamestream propagandist where Obama had the leftist media as campaign operatives.

    Obama enjoys a rubber stamp super majority Democratic Party controlling both chambers shutting out Republicans. Reagan compromised with the Democratic controlled Congress of teh 1980's. Reagan never attacked the media as obama does against individuals on the right. Reagan had class and brought back respect to America and defeated "The Evil Empire." Obama travels abroad say America is the evil empire (sic).

    Reagan was The Great Communicator as Obama is The Great Manipulator. Obama lied about adding debt, transparency, unity, post racial, compromise, ethics, ect….

    Yes, to compare these two is utter nonsense!

    • pete

      I agree completely. Reagan and Obama are polar opposites with different approaches to everything. Wishfull thinking on the far left is why they compare obama to Reagan. They are hoping for a revolution in which the country decides to accept socialism and renounce capitalism. It is not likely even with the mainstream press trying to cover all the bad decisions and making excuses for Obamas failures.

    • Ginger

      In reply to Thompson's comment, I Agree. Obama is the opposite of Reagan. Reagan loved this country, Obama is trying to destroy it. In the next two years this administration will tail spin us into a depression. A planned Depression. They have allowed Iran to get nuclear capabilities, they have pressured local government to allow a mosque to be built on ground zero (not proven but how else did this thing get passed with 60+% of New Yorkers against it?). They have alienated our allies and Israel. Their party lied to us about the extent of the Greenhouse effect so they could make money off of our fear. So what's next? Raising taxes to shock the economy, the healthcare bill costing us trillions, passing laws to keep businesses from hiring and he does this all to bring us to our knees so his Muslim brothers can come in and drive us into the dirt. That's what I honestly believe and God help us all.

  2. bob conrad

    I see Clinton has taken issue with the florida gop nominee because he has no experience with government–where was he whilst the messiah was running–and he is still running. I wish he would run right out of the country. Go back to saudi Arabia

  3. Juan

    What if his personal approval ratings aren't really as high as all the polls show them to be?? What would cause people to lie about how they feel about Obama?? The fear that they would be called rascist! People know that any time ANYONE is 100% favorable to the "DEAR LEADER" charges of bigotry follow…therefore in order not to be thought of racist by the polling questioner….PEOPLE LIE

  4. Clearbrook

    Oh, he gets *Credit* for Healthcare reform, alright. It is jsut not the kind of *Credit* (Blame) he wants! Look at what he gave us, though! The promise was: "If you like your current Insurance, nothing is going force you to change that insurance." That is Obama, again, and again, and again. So what is happening? People are losing their insurance, and once they understand why (and most people are *very* motivated to understand this) they see how Reid, Pelosi and Obama shafted them! This Healthcare "Reform" is a hamhanded takeover, pure and simple. In the areas it does not outright take over, it is designed to make private insurance *worse* (as if setting up justification for absolute government takeover of what remains outside their grubby little clutches — yes, they are just as "greedy" as big business, although for them, it is all about POWER and they could care less if things get done well, profitably or whether the expense is just plain outrageous — since noone will be able to walk away from it without going to prison!)

    Consumer Protection Reform added another layer of Buracracy to the cost of doing business, led to changing tactics and higher fees, and resulted in a net of NO extra protection at an additional cost! So very Socialist, and failing at that! He does not *want* credit for that and should be thankful the media are not saying anything substantial about that since there is nothing good that they can say.

    And if he gets credit for withdrawing the troops for Iraq, all one has to do is show that he is following *exactly* what President Bush Planned before the Zero was elected. What did he contribute there to take credit for? Zip, Zero, Nada, Bupkis. That is his style. All flash and no substance.

    It is natural for his numbers to fall as people get tired of his games and absolutely worthless and empty rhetoric. He is nothing that can be compared to Reagan. Bill Clinton had more potential opposition than he does and yet was quite successful at finding a middle ground everyone could live with. Obama PROMISED bipartisanship, but out of the gates, he worked hard to pass everything without doing anything but trying to totally discredit any input that was from the other party. Yes, a few of their suggestions got in, ONLY after those suggestions were resubmitted by someone with the "proper" party affilation and the Media was trying to give the Democrats credit for it as their own idea. Well, that bipartisanship was still needed, it seems. Barry burned his bridges pretty quickly and then has the gall to call the Republicans nothing but obstructionists. Yes, they are "Obstructing" his agenda. Problem is for Barry Boy is that in many cases the Majority of Americans want those agenda items opposed!

    The King is Dead! Long Live the King!



  5. [...] recent Gallup poll had the president’s favorability at an all-time low of 43 percent – still higher than [...]

  6. [...] recent Gallup poll had the president’s favorability at an all-time low of 43 percent – still higher than [...]



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