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President Obama at 47 Percent Approval, Lowest of Any President at This Point

December 8, 2009

We already know some of the things on President Obama’s Christmas List: health care, success in Afghanistan, climate change restrictions.

But now, he’ll want to add a jump in the polls to that list of desirables.

Not to be premature, but things aren’t looking good for the President in the upcoming year. His opinion polls have reached record lows, one of which is the lowest in recorded history at this time in any president’s term.

His predecessor, you’ll recall, had an 86% approval rating at this time in his term.

With Americans shifting away from the Obama, Republicans should be watching the course of events in Washington with a very close eye.

Here’s the story from Fox News:

President Obama’s job approval rating has fallen to 47 percent in the latest Gallup poll, the lowest ever recorded for any president at this point in his term.

President Obama’s job approval rating has fallen to 47 percent in the latest Gallup poll, the lowest ever recorded for any president at this point in his term.

Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford and even Richard Nixon all had higher approval ratings 10-and-a-half months into their presidencies. Obama’s immediate predecessor, President George W. Bush, had an approval rating of 86 percent, or 39 points higher than Obama at this stage. Bush’s support came shortly after he launched the war in Afghanistan in response to the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said he doesn’t “put a lot of stock” in the survey by Gallup, which has conducted presidential approval polls since 1938, longer than any other organization.

“If I was a heart patient and Gallup was my EKG, I’d visit my doctor,” Gibbs said in response to questions from Fox. “I’m sure a six-year-old with a Crayon could do something not unlike that. I don’t put a lot of stake in, never have, in the EKG that is daily Gallup trend. I don’t pay a lot of attention to the meaninglessness of it.”

Gallup Editor-in-Chief Frank Newport responded: “Gibbs said that if Gallup were his EKG, he would visit his doctor. Well, I think the doctor might ask him what’s going on in his life that would cause his EKG to be fluctuating so much. There is, in fact, a lot going on at the moment — the health care bill, the jobs summit, the Copenhagen climate conference and Afghanistan.”

The new low comes as Obama struggles to overhaul the nation’s health care system and escalates America’s involvement in the Afghanistan war. He is also presiding over a deep and prolonged recession, with unemployment at 10 percent.

“There’s no doubt Obama’s 47 percent is mainly a result of the continuing bad economy,” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. “But there is also a growing concern about government spending and debt, and a sense that Obama is trying to do too much, too soon.”

He added: “President Obama has reason to be concerned about his ratings. Even in tough times, presidents have usually been able to stay above the critical 50 percent mark in the first year, when the public is most inclined to give the new incumbent the benefit of the doubt.”

Obama officials have not always shown disdain for Gallup. During last year’s presidential campaign, Obama adviser David Plouffe, trumpeted “the latest Gallup poll” to reporters because it showed that 53 percent of Americans did not find Obama Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, “trustworthy.”

When Gallup began taking presidential approval polls 71 years ago, Franklin Roosevelt had been president for more than five years. During his remaining time in office, his job approval rating never fell below 48 percent.

The next 11 presidents, both Democrats and Republicans, all had higher job approval ratings than Obama at this stage of their tenure. Their ratings were:

— George W. Bush, 86 percent
— Bill Clinton, 52 percent
— George H.W. Bush, 71 percent
— Ronald Reagan, 49 percent
— Jimmy Carter, 57 percent
— Gerald Ford, 52 percent
— Richard Nixon, 59 percent
— Lyndon Johnson, 74 percent
— John Kennedy, 77 percent
— Dwight Eisenhower, 69 percent
— Harry Truman, 49 percent

The poll is an average of a three-day tracking of 1,529 adults taken Dec. 4-6. It has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.


Congressional candidates take note: fight long and hard this upcoming year, because 2010 could very well be a good year of GOP candidates.

While we all want what’s best for the country, some of us (especially absentminded political liberals) have very bad ways of delivering what’s “best.” Strategically, the party needs to keep a close watch of these polls and monitor local mood and sentiment regarding the President and his policies. Some are much more popular in New York than elsewhere, and we cannot afford to be branded merely as the “Party of No.”

But in the meantime, those of you who dislike the President’s policies might be laughing all the way to the midterm elections, because the tide is turning in your favor.

We’ll keep monitoring this for you over the course of the next few months.

  1. Louis permalink
    December 8, 2009 11:05 pm

    We need to win this year. Redistricting will ruin this party. Without doubt.

  2. Basement Bertha permalink
    December 9, 2009 11:40 am

    Don’t leave out the significant undercurrent of distrust of this president caused by the problematic provenance of his citizenship.

    Although I am not a true “birther,” I am a sceptic like Lou Dobbs and many others, who wonder why there is so little to actually document the personal history of a POTUS: a)who has written two autobiographical books; b)has published and relied upon a questionable Hawaiian “Certification of Live Birth” (COLB) instead of an actual Hawaiian “Certificate of Live Birth” (Birth Certificate); and c)whose personal narrative has been impeached by several members of his own family, including his half-sister, and some African diplomats.

    Although it is patent that there are many “Birthers” who are completely unreliable (virtually howling at the moon, full-time), there are others who do have a little more on the ball. Two, who do seem to stand above the rest, are lawyers, Leo Donofrio and Mario Apuzzo. Anybody interested should give those names a look-see by whatever search engine works on your virtual Lionel layout.

    Since all “Birther” sceptics have been driven underground by the coalition of the dazed and bedazzled, and their repetitititious and redundignorant cohorts—

    I remain your favorite Bunker pin-up,
    Basement Bertha*
    (*Not to be confused with Joe Gallo’s cartoonish longsuffering distaff Mets fan)

  3. Emily Catapano permalink
    December 10, 2009 3:08 pm

    The American Left is generally dissatisfied with President Obama too.
    If you browse the Leftist opinion and news media, one can read this clearly. Browse,,

    Closer to home – 13th C.D. NY Rep. Michael E. McMahon has – so far – voted in Congress as a centrist, Blue Dog Democrat. He has an excellent chance to be re-elected, plus the power of incumbency will help him.

    Many Democrat legislators like Congressman McMahon will distance themselves from the Obama Administration.

    Ironically, Rep. McMahon received the support of the Working Families Party and some support of many Conservatives the first time he ran.

    Unlike other local organizations with whom we are familiar with, Rep. McMahon’s official website is updated regularly. It is an informative resource for his constituents.

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