Former President Barack Obama’s average approval rating was 47.9 percent while he was in office. That is a lower approval rating than Richard Nixon, who resigned; and George Bush, who’s approval rating plummeted down to 25 percent near the end of his term. There are only 3 Presidents who have had lower average approval ratings than Obama. Gerald Ford was at 47.2 percent, Jimmy Carter had 45.5 percent, and Harry Truman had a 45.4 percent approval rating. (RELATED: Find more Obama news at Obama.fetch.news)
Gallup released their analysis on Friday, publishing the average approval rating for all twelve Presidents who have taken office post World War II. After Obama’s first year, he only achieved majority approval once more during his first term. His last spike in approval came in his 16th quarter in office, around the time he was re-elected. Support for Obama dipped dramatically down to the 40 percent range shortly after his second term started. Obama’s approval remained low until regaining the majority level in his final year as President.
Obama’s approval dipped as low as 38 percent at times when debt, unemployment, and the Islamic State were in focus. Negotiations over the debt ceiling limit and downgrading the US credit rating played a factor at the time of his lowest approval. Obama didn’t generate enough support for legislation to address the weak employment situation.
After the capture of Osama bin Laden in May of 2011, Obama gained a modest surge in support. His support level otherwise moved very gradually when it did change. Obama failed to achieve high ratings during his presidency, but he also avoided extreme lows. The Gallup study points out that the US didn’t suffer any major wars or international incidents which would have created a rally effect behind the former President.
Obama’s lackluster support may reflect his governing during a time where many were unsatisfied with the state of the nation. There was a low amount of trust between the people and the government, and diminished confidence in major US institutions. Obama may not have helped people confide in government. Some of his policies, including the Affordable Care Act, were heavily frowned upon. Obama also used his executive orders to advance his immigration policy after failing to accomplish that goal through the legislative process. (RELATED: Find more White House news at Whitehouse.news)
The overall approval ratings average is an indication of how well a president did their job, but ratings at the end of one’s presidency often have the greatest impact on how they will be remembered. Americans believe that Obama will typically be judged more positively than negatively by history, possibly even better than several of his predecessors who had much higher average approval ratings. Only time will tell if that projection holds true.
The results for the most recent Gallup poll were based on telephone interviews conducted between October 20, 2016, and January 19, 2017. The Gallup US Daily survey consisted of randomly sampling 42,122 adults from all fifty states, and Washington D.C. All samples were 18 years or older and living in the US at the time.
The margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage points, at the 95 percent confidence level for results based on the total sample of national adults. The reported margins for error in sampling includes a computed design effect for weighting.
The minimum quota for each sample of national adults included 70 percent correspondence by cellphone, and 30 percent coming from landlines. Landline and cellular phone numbers were selected using random digit dial methods. Additional minimum quotas for the Gallup polls factored in time zones and regions.
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