Each of Obama’s six years in office rank among the 10 most polarized in the last 60 years, with George W. Bush holding the other four spots. Bush’s most polarized years were his fourth through seventh years in office, after the rally in support for him following the 9/11 terror attacks had faded. Clearly, political polarization has reached new heights in recent years, under a Republican and a Democratic president.
Bush’s and Obama’s approval ratings were most polarized along party lines in their fourth years in office — which has been the case for most presidents because that is the year they seek re-election. Both Bush and Obama saw their polarization scores ease slightly in their fifth year, and go down a bit more in year six. Bush’s polarization score dropped even further in his seventh year, as his overall job approval ratings continued to decline.