However, as John Podhoretz notes, Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush went on either to lose the next election or to not run again; Reagan and Clinton hit the 30s, but their numbers rebounded because the economy improved. (Sabato is thinking of Truman in 1948 , which technically was not a re-election campaign and where Truman was buoyed by a rising economy more than most remember).

Moreover, Princeton political scientist Larry Bartels will tell you that a candidate’s personal favorability only matters at the margins…