Rasmussen has produced what it calls the Presidential Approval Index before Barack Obama took office, but it’s probably better described as a passion index.  The measure uses their daily presidential tracking poll and compares those who strongly approve of Obama’s performance as President to those who strongly disapprove as a means to test momentum.  While Obama enjoyed a wide margin lead in his first few months, the streams crossed at about the time he began pushing ObamaCare in the summer of 2009 and have never switched back to support.

However, it’s never been this bad:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows that 19% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president. Forty-five percent (45%) Strongly Disapprove, giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -26 …

This is the lowest Approval Index rating yet measured for President Obama. The previous low was -24 reached yesterday and also in September 2010. Additionally, the level of Strong Approval matches the lowest yet recorded. By way of comparison, President Bush had ratings near the end of his second term in the minus 30s.

It’s not really news that Obama has begun to explore approval ratings in his first term seen by Bush in his second term, but this measure points out a more nuanced problem for Obama.  A lack of strong approval means a lack of energy for a re-election campaign.  At 19%, Obama’s enthusiastic support now comprises only a part of the natural Democratic base.  That doesn’t mean that Democrats will start becoming Tea Party activists (although it certainly doesn’t preclude it, either), but it means that Obama will have to count on a lower level of engagement and volunteerism for his next campaign — perhaps a much lower level.

The weekly results as of last week show that Obama’s decline has accelerated.  As of the 17th, his presidential index rating was -16, not -26.  His overall approval ratings in the demographics were still atrocious.  Among independents, Obama got a 41/54, with only 17% strongly approving.  His rating among Democrats was still 85/15, but only 51% strongly approved. Obama only scored majority approval among 18-29YOs in the age demos (a relatively weak 55/43), but has majority disapproval in all other age groups.  He wins a solid majority among the lowest-income earners (55/44) and a bare majority among the wealthiest income earners (50/48), but loses all of the other income demos.  And these numbers probably all declined over the last few days, along with the presidential index.