Obama Sets Record: His Job Approval Now Below Jimmy Carter’s

We’re getting the answer at least in terms of poll numbers fo the big question that was raised at the start of Barack Obama’s Presidency: would he turn out to be another FDR, another JFK, another Reagan or another Carter? In terms of polling he is now officially “another Carter” — and future Presidents may be get the label “another Obama” unless this changes:

President Obama’s slow ride down Gallup’s daily presidential job approval index has finally passed below Jimmy Carter, earning Obama the worst job approval rating of any president at this stage of his term in modern political history.

Since March, Obama’s job approval rating has hovered above Carter’s, considered among the 20th century’s worst presidents, but today Obama’s punctured Carter’s dismal job approval line. On their comparison chart, Gallup put Obama’s job approval rating at 43 percent compared to Carter’s 51 percent.

Back in 1979, Carter was far below Obama until the Iran hostage crisis, eerily being duplicated in Tehran today with Iranian protesters storming the British embassy. The early days of the crisis helped Carter’s ratings, though his failure to win the release of captured Americans, coupled with a bad economy, led to his defeat by Ronald Reagan in 1980.

It is increasingly clear that given his poll numbers, the tepid economy (despite good Black Friday sales), his political team’s less than stellar performance, and the fact that he seems to be more of a Velcro President then a Teflon President, if Republicans can put up a candidate in 2012 who appeals to more than just Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity they will have a shot at the White House.

But if their candidate is a narrow ideological candidate who basically makes it clear that he or she considers independents mushy for not automatically agreeing to a GOP conservative agenda, or moderates weak-kneed compromises, or suggests millions of Latinos need to be deported, or turns off women voters — Republicans truly have a historic opportunity.

Right now the White House looks ripe for a political picking. Will the go for it or make it clear that American needs above all ideological purity and those who don’t see it their way need not apply (or vote for them)?

And Obama? He’s in a holding pattern. Classic survival mode.

Once you fall below Jimmy Carter denial for the White House and Democrats is not an option. (Or is it?)

8 Comments

  1. A truly lackluster performance by O, to be sure.

    What I find funny is the GOP candidates are falling apart so readily. This election should’ve been a cakewalk but they are in meltdown due to ultra-conservative litmus tests, ego runs, faux pas, and basic slogan-driven idiocy.

    If their party was able to front a solid candidate they’d be in much better shape. Now it’s a race to the bottom …

  2. Joe – I’m curious why the comparison to Carter. GW Bush’s Gallop approval rating was a 30%-31% in his third year of his second term. Why is he not considered a much worse president than Carter?

  3. Carter could have ranked higher if Teddy K. didn’t undermine his effort for health care reform. (This goes to another thread that says having a congress and pres of the same party, may not be that good.)
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....20356.html

  4. It’s all relative. Obama’s job approval might be 43% but Congress has an approval rating of something like 9% (!). And Mitt Romney’s approval rating is 36% according to Pollster. Does anyone really think people like Gingrich more than Romney? BTW, Obama’s personal approval rating is still something like 70%.

    This election is going to be about the economy and not much else. O’s re-election chances are going to ride on whether we will start seeing a real, tangible recovery or continue in our malaise.

  5. Vera used the word, “malaise”, and it’s the right one imo. How much of the ratings are due to malaise and how much to the occupier of the white house during times of malaise? They aren’t necessarily one and the same, but are usually lumped together nonetheless. Also (as has been mentioned) poll numbers can easily be deceptive in the absence of sufficient context.

  6. Since many people just vote on personality and not necessarily on job performance, or results, Obama has a very good shot given the current opposition.

  7. Predictions in either direction this far out don’t mean much. But that having been said, Obama’s skills as a campaigner combined with simple campaign tools like the recent Mitt v. Mitt video would seem to indicate potential problems for the GOP even if they didn’t nominate an ideologue. Huntsman might stand a chance since he wouldn’t have that history but I just don’t see the Republicans nominating him. Heck, I don’t know if the Republicans could nominate Romney in spite of them having nominated McCain in 2008. Remember, that was the Republican Party before the Tea Party.

  8. There won’t be a solid third party candidate.
    There won’t be a solid Republican candidate.
    There won’t be anything for Obama to worry about.

    We have known for quite some time that Reps would not have a legit candidate for this cycle…they had NO ONE in the on deck circle after McCain.

    Romney is their only option and they want to nominate everyone but Romeny.

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