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.