Gallup published its quarterly analysis of its presidential polling, and the good news is that Obama set a new record. That’s good news for his opponents, however, as Obama hit a new low of 41%. The quarter-on-quarter decline was the worst of his presidency since the third quarter results (via Andrew Malcolm):
President Barack Obama’s 11th quarter in office was the worst of his administration, based on his quarterly average job approval ratings. His 41% approval average is down six percentage points from his 10th quarter in office, and is nearly four points below his previous low of 45% during his seventh quarter.
These results are based on Gallup Daily tracking from July 20-Oct. 19, 2011. During this time, Obama’s approval rating ranged narrowly between 38% and 43% for all but a few days of the quarter. The 38% approval ratings, registered on several occasions, are the lowest of his presidency to date.
The most notable event in Obama’s 11th quarter was probably the negotiations to raise the federal debt ceiling in late July and early August. Shortly after the agreement was reached, the stock market plummeted after Standard and Poor’s downgraded the U.S. credit rating. Later, the government’s jobs report showed no new net jobs were created in August, a sign the economy was still a long way from recovery. The president has been unsuccessful so far in getting Congress to pass the jobs bill he proposed in early September.
For the record, this is the worst level of support in the 11th quarter since Jimmy Carter’s 31% in Gallup’s series. Carter ended up being a one-term President both for what preceded that 11th quarter result, and for what followed it — the Iranian hostage crisis and 444 days of futility.
The good news? The only other presidents with below-majority 11th quarter polling were Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. However, there are significant differences in the comparisons. By the time the 11th quarter rolled around for Reagan, the economic recovery had already started and was building steam. For Clinton, the poll came in the middle of the HillaryCare debacle, and while Clinton was making a successful triangulation on welfare reform and economic policy to recapture the momentum.
Gallup notes that the measure in the 12th and 13th quarters are more indicative of what will happen in the next election cycle, but this is notable for another reason. This includes at least six weeks of polling after Obama’s decision to strike a much more populist, class-warfare tone in Washington, a strategy that undoubtedly at least inspired the Occupy movement, if not explicitly coordinated with that effort. There is no particular reason for such a sharp dropoff in approval otherwise — no big economic setback, no significantly bad outcome militarily or diplomatically, either. This looks like a very good indication that Obama’s attempt to appease the hard Left has further marginalized him with the overall electorate, and if Obama can’t produce economic growth quickly, this trend could turn into a rout.