I opened up my Google News page this morning to see the following headline:
This contrasts with an article I recall reading a few days ago which talks about how Obama’s approval ratings are not sky-high when compared to past presidents at the 100-day mark.
First, what is President Obama’s approval rating? The folks at Gallup poll this stuff constantly, and have an article that tells us:
As President Barack Obama concludes his first 100 days on the job, Gallup Poll Daily tracking for the week of April 20-26 finds 65% of Americans approving of how he is doing and only 29% disapproving. Obama’s average weekly job ratings have varied only slightly thus far, ranging from 61% to 67%.
We’ll take 65% approval and 29% disapproval as our President Obama benchmarks.
For historical comparison, we have the American Presidency Project, which provides a chart of Presidential job approval ratings at or near the 100-day mark. Note the chart below, which I have taken the liberty to highlight.
See those green boxes? Those are presidents who showed a higher approval rating and lower disapproval rating after 100 days than President Obama. The yellow box highlights President George W. Bush’s approval/disapproval ratings after 100 days – an approval rating three percentage points lower than President Obama, and an identical disapproval rating.
What can we surmise from this?
- Taken in historical context, the public approves of President Obama at a level typical of most presidents.
- Taken in historical context, the public disapproves of President Obama at a level typical of most recent presidents – that is, those since the Reagan/Bush years.
- Feelings about our President are much more polarized in recent years, with lower approval and higher disapproval numbers than past presidents.
And now, the best conclusion: Only three presidents had a lower approval rating 100 days into their first term of office than they had on their first day in office.
- Jimmy Carter (started with 66%, fell to 63%)
- William J. Clinton (started with 58%, fell to 55%)
- Barack Obama (started with 68%, fell to 65%)
Which presidents saw the greatest increase in approval rating between their first day and their 100th day?
- Ronald Reagan (51% to 68%)
- John Kennedy (72% to 83%)
It is also not reassuring to know that CNN and the Gallup folks are drinking the Obama Kool-Aid… but I don’t expect much different from them.