Gallup: Obama lowest-rated re-elected President since WWII

posted at 12:31 pm on January 21, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

At first blush, the reaction to this Gallup poll is … so what?  Barack Obama managed to get himself elected to a second term anyway, even with historically anemic approval numbers.  But there’s more to this than just last November:

President Barack Obama averaged 49.1% job approval during his first term in office, among the lowest for post-World War II presidents. Only Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford had lower job approval averages. Obama’s first-term average is most similar to Bill Clinton’s. Lyndon Johnson, John Kennedy, and Dwight Eisenhower were the most popular first-term presidents.

Obama’s first-term approval average, like those of most presidents with lower first-term averages, was likely dragged down by a sluggish economy. Clinton and Reagan saw higher second-term approval as the economy improved. Obama’s approval rating has also shown improvement, with a 48.1% average in his fourth year in office after a 44.4% average in his third year.

Obama has recently rebounded, but it’s still not terribly impressive from a historical standpoint:

The more recent positive trend in evaluations of Obama is evident in his quarterly averages. For his 16th quarter in office, from Oct. 20 through Jan. 19, he averaged 51.9% approval. That was his first quarterly average above 50% since his fourth quarter in office. Obama has seen at least modest improvement in his job approval average each of the last five quarters, since a term-low 41.0% in his 11th quarter in office. That quarter was marked by contentious negotiations to raise the federal debt ceiling, and an ensuing drop in the stock market while unemployment remained high.

Even at 51.9%, Obama doesn’t have much momentum rolling into his second term.  That only puts him above Reagan and Clinton, neither of whom were known for their second-term agendas.  George W. Bush had a 62.2% average approval rating in his first term, and the combination of a botched attempt to reform Social Security and the Hurricane Katrina disaster ended any hope of making headway in a second term on domestic politics, while the worsening war in Iraq eroded what was left of his political capital.

Why does this matter for Obama? He will argue this week, starting today, that the American people validated his agenda, but clearly that’s not the case.  He became the first post-WWII President to win re-election with fewer votes, and his approval ratings have perked up in the wake of the fiscal-cliff deal, but he’s hardly in the driver’s seat.  Moreover, the one policy for which Obama might have legitimately claimed a mandate from the election — higher taxes on the wealthy — has already passed at the end of his first term.

Small wonder that Politico takes a pessimistic view of Obama’s opportunities in a second term:

But presidential closing acts tend to be periods of reaction rather than action. Even the strongest and most proactive chief executives find themselves bowing to events, a process not unlike watching the battery of an iPhone slowly die — with many messages still left to be returned.

Obama, who has made a habit of bucking historic trends, is hoping to defy the second-term curse. He’ll try to transform his campaign organization, with its millions-strong lists of supporters, into a new force for fundraising and mobilization to pressure Republicans and Democrats who don’t support his agenda. …

Obama’s convincing win over Mitt Romney in November has proven to be a powerful lever in his negotiations with Republicans so far, contributing to his success in fiscal cliff negotiations and helping to drive his approval numbers into the mid-50s for the first time in years. People close to the president cite the 2012 win as a liberating event, one that freed him to stand tough against his enemies. The problem — and it grows with each passing day leading up to the next election — is that Obama’s damn-the-torpedoes attitude is out of sync with the mind-set of his own party. Twenty Senate Democrats face reelection in 2014, compared with 13 Republicans, many of those Democrats in hard-to-hold states like North Carolina, West Virginia, Louisiana and Arkansas. “He’s never been really that attuned to the Hill in the first place,” says a former Obama aide. “Now that he’s not running for anything, he’s increasingly out of sync. That increases the likelihood he leads and no one follows.”

Historically speaking, not too many are following him now.


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And he’s the worst tyrant to occupy the White House since the tyrant that did so in World War II.

wildcat72 on January 21, 2013 at 12:34 PM

POS.

UltimateBob on January 21, 2013 at 12:36 PM

Well, when unemployment among the black community exceeds 30%, I guess Obama will be super-duper, double-extra, quadra-awesome among his voters.

Jeddite on January 21, 2013 at 12:37 PM

Lowest rated = reelected? What is wrong with that equation? Something is off.

BJ* on January 21, 2013 at 12:38 PM

Wait till the pain he started, and intends to build on, finally hits liberals, too. The electorate is a fickle beast, which liberals never understand. We expected all this and anticipate more. The ones left in the lurch, to later become disillusioned, won’t be us.

Liam on January 21, 2013 at 12:38 PM

Lowest rated = reelected? What is wrong with that equation? Something is off.

BJ* on January 21, 2013 at 12:38 PM

It means that Romney failed to clear the democrat election fraud threshold.

wildcat72 on January 21, 2013 at 12:39 PM

It’s going to be a very long 4 years. Thanks Ed.

CoffeeLover on January 21, 2013 at 12:39 PM

Was this poll taken pre or post Michelle’s new bangs? ABC said this morning they were the “bangs that thrilled a nation”.

Marcus on January 21, 2013 at 12:40 PM

Lowest rated = reelected? What is wrong with that equation? Something is off.

BJ* on January 21, 2013 at 12:38 PM

This..

How did the sorry sob get reelected if he (and yes he does) suck so bad???

BigWyo on January 21, 2013 at 12:41 PM

And he’s the worst tyrant to occupy the White House since the tyrant that did so in World War II.

So FDR and Obama are tyrants? Nice.

YYZ on January 21, 2013 at 12:43 PM

At first blush, the reaction to this Gallup poll is

Funny, I would have thought that this would be the reaction to that poll…

Additionally, this case provides evidence of around one and a half million invalid voter registrations in the state of California alone.

Obama only won reelection (supposedly) by 3.8 million votes, half of those votes were illegally cast in California alone.

SWalker on January 21, 2013 at 12:44 PM

So FDR and Obama are tyrants? Nice.

YYZ on January 21, 2013 at 12:43 PM

The answer to your question……..YES!

Tater Salad on January 21, 2013 at 12:46 PM

4 more years of Chicago on the Potomac.

A sad day for America.

FlaMurph on January 21, 2013 at 12:47 PM

So FDR and Obama are tyrants? Nice.

YYZ on January 21, 2013 at 12:43 PM

Tyrannical in nature, yes. Actual tyrants, no.

ButterflyDragon on January 21, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Bangs that thrilled a Nation? You’re kidding right?

sandee on January 21, 2013 at 12:48 PM

How did the sorry sob get reelected if he (and yes he does) suck so bad???

BigWyo on January 21, 2013 at 12:41 PM

Was this poll taken pre or post Michelle’s new bangs? ABC said this morning they were the “bangs that thrilled a nation”.
Marcus on January 21, 2013 at 12:40 PM

There’s your answer right there.

Mr. Arkadin on January 21, 2013 at 12:50 PM

A truly meaningless article. Dictators don’t care about approval ratings.

conservativemusician on January 21, 2013 at 12:51 PM

I still don’t think he’ll dip below the low 40′s in his 2nd term no matter how bad things get. His base will never abandon him out of sheer partisanship and stupidity.

Doughboy on January 21, 2013 at 12:52 PM

Who cares? Obama is awesome.

/Trolletariat

Good Lt on January 21, 2013 at 12:53 PM

Obama will never be a beloved President, he just unfortunately had enough “juice” with minority turnout that pulled him over the finish line in a largely 50/50 divided nation.

For whatever dumb reason, Republicans sat out the last election. Had 2012 had the same Republican participation as 2004, it would have been a blowout like 1988.

BradTank on January 21, 2013 at 12:56 PM

POS.

UltimateBob on January 21, 2013 at 12:36 PM

…double that!

KOOLAID2 on January 21, 2013 at 12:57 PM

Electorate IQ lowest rated—-ever.

hillsoftx on January 21, 2013 at 1:00 PM

The problem — and it grows with each passing day leading up to the next election

Obama is now officially a lame duck.

Each day that passes is a day closer to his ouster.

Yay.

MichaelGabriel on January 21, 2013 at 1:01 PM

So FDR and Obama are tyrants? Nice.

YYZ on January 21, 2013 at 12:43 PM

Well all due respect I’d argue FDR was more of a classical fascist in regards to methodology. His practises were often compared to the “successes of Mussolini” at the time-openly in editorials-and always in a positive light. Fascism hadn’t shown it’s barbaric side until WWII and afterwards everyone seemed to forget how wonderful they found it.
He was more successful in that, well we’re not Italy with the centuries of bloody wars from roman times on. Him and big business shared pockets almost again as openly at the time. And his propoganda machine sealed the deal as far as his legacy. Of course europe doesn’t really remember the great depression as that big a deal. But then they didn’t have FDR screwing things up.
Had he stacked the supreme court as he had intended we may have seen a more “forceful” side of the man. That tendency follows that belief system.
Hard not to step on the little people when they are so very small and so very everybody but you.

onomo on January 21, 2013 at 1:04 PM

Obama’s popularity low? Well, Michelle’s stylish new bangs will change all that!

jan3 on January 21, 2013 at 1:07 PM

Why does this matter for Obama? He will argue this week, starting today, that the American people validated his agenda, but clearly that’s not the case.

The MSM will make it the case. With them solidly backing him, few people will notice his failures because there will be no mention of them. How did he get past Fast and Furious? The MSM mentioned it only in passing, while noting it was a program that originated in the Bush year. Is anyone in the MSM showing the least bit of concern over Algeria? (Algeria? There’s a place called Algeria? Oh — that’s where the French are screwing the whole Middle East up. Those damn Frenchies!) Behghazi? The only reason Benghazi is an issue is because the Republicans made it an issue!Voila! It all goes away with the merest of ripples on the Liberals’ sunny pond.

catsandbooks on January 21, 2013 at 1:09 PM

Gallup: Obama lowest-rated re-elected President since WWII


NO ONE CARES.

……can we just get the likes of Scarborough and other elitists that are northeastern republicans to just admit THEY ARE DEMOCRATS?

PappyD61 on January 21, 2013 at 1:10 PM

Yeah… well we saw how well Gallup’s polling worked out this cycle.

Obama got reelected, and that’s the only poll that counts.

SAMinVA on January 21, 2013 at 1:12 PM

Obama says a big “so what” to his ratings. He doesn’t care what the people think! He bullies his party to pass his giant bills and transforms the country — his original and lasting goal.

PattyJ on January 21, 2013 at 1:12 PM

Obama reelected / “bangs that thrilled a nation”.

Sigh. Anyone up for Kickstarting an outerspace migration?

BJ* on January 21, 2013 at 1:13 PM

I’m waiting for Mooch to sing, “Stop! In the Name of Love”.

kingsjester on January 21, 2013 at 1:14 PM

Obama’s convincing win over Mitt Romney in November has proven to be a powerful lever in his negotiations with Republicans so far

I’m sorry, but a couple percent win is not anything close to decisive. Actually it doesn’t even clear the margin of democrat vote fraud.

AZfederalist on January 21, 2013 at 1:15 PM

That should have been convincing

AZfederalist on January 21, 2013 at 1:17 PM

bho is the worse of these three presidents, wilson, fdr, carter all oombined by a million miles on what he has/is doing to our Republic! bho/team have waited decades to do what they are getting done now and they are NO where finished!
L

letget on January 21, 2013 at 1:18 PM

^combined
L

letget on January 21, 2013 at 1:20 PM

^combined
L

letget on January 21, 2013 at 1:20 PM

Keep up the typos. They only serve to further confuse liberals–not that that’s a hard thing to do.

Liam on January 21, 2013 at 1:22 PM

“Now that he’s not running for anything, he’s increasingly out of sync. That increases the likelihood he leads and no one follows.”

Huh? Was Barry ever “in sync”? Something about jobs and the economy?

And when did Barry ever “lead”. You know, do the ‘heavy lifting’?

GarandFan on January 21, 2013 at 1:25 PM

I’m waiting for Mooch to sing, “Stop! In the Name of Love She Bangs, feat. William Hung.”

kingsjester on January 21, 2013 at 1:14 PM

Christien on January 21, 2013 at 1:27 PM

No problem. Popularity isn’t everything …

Expect serious efforts to repeal the 22nd Amendment to begin ASAP.

RedPepper on January 21, 2013 at 1:36 PM

And if not for his skin color he would have lost handily.

ButterflyDragon on January 21, 2013 at 1:45 PM

Expect serious efforts to repeal the 22nd Amendment to begin ASAP.

RedPepper on January 21, 2013 at 1:36 PM

Of course, because the 22nd is racist policy now.

ButterflyDragon on January 21, 2013 at 1:45 PM

Maggot in Chief

Schadenfreude on January 21, 2013 at 1:45 PM

Small comfort. His boot’s still on our necks.

Cleombrotus on January 21, 2013 at 2:12 PM

Certainly there must be a good reason for 0′s low ratings. Could it be because he sucks so bad. 0,the line starts to my left. Oh, and wipe off you trollfriends chins nest time.

Bmore on January 21, 2013 at 2:18 PM

nest=next

Bmore on January 21, 2013 at 2:18 PM

And he’s the worst tyrant to occupy the White House since the tyrant that did so in World War II.

So FDR and Obama are tyrants? Nice.

YYZ on January 21, 2013 at 12:43 PM

FDR threw over 100,000 folks into concentration camps, solely because of their racial background. That alone fits the definition.

F- (As usual)

Del Dolemonte on January 21, 2013 at 2:27 PM

Gallup lol. This is the same folks who told us Romney was up by 7. Screw the pollsters.

celticdefender on January 21, 2013 at 2:30 PM

No question in my mind that he has performed to a reduced standard than even my admittedly very low expectations.

USA Today announced they would no longer use Gallup as their preferred pollster. And their standards are pretty low, too.

Crusader Rabbit

Crusader Rabbit on January 21, 2013 at 2:51 PM

Well, when unemployment among the black community exceeds 30%, I guess Obama will be super-duper, double-extra, quadra-awesome among his voters all bets are off.

Jeddite on January 21, 2013 at 12:37 PM

Cleombrotus on January 21, 2013 at 2:56 PM