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Posted by on Oct 21, 2009 in Politics | 7 comments

Gallup Poll: Obama’s Quarter Approval Rating Slips Nine Points (and Sets A Record)

A new Gallup Poll finds President Barack Obama’s approval rating sliped nine points during his third quarter — and he set a record of sorts…but not one the White House is likely to tout:

In Gallup Daily tracking that spans Barack Obama’s third quarter in office (July 20 through Oct. 19), the president averaged a 53% job approval rating. That is down sharply from his prior quarterly averages, which were both above 60%.

In fact, the 9-point drop in the most recent quarter is the largest Gallup has ever measured for an elected president between the second and third quarters of his term, dating back to 1953. One president who was not elected to his first term — Harry Truman — had a 13-point drop between his second and third quarters in office in 1945 and 1946.


Gallup notes some of the factors that could have contributed to this: the battle over health care reform, the tempestuous political summer with the fiery town halls discussion (or screaming about) health care reform. And the biggie: the high unemployment figures.

More generally, Obama’s 9-point slide between quarters ranks as one of the steepest for a president at any point in his first year in office. The highest is Truman’s 19-point drop between his third and fourth quarters, followed by a 15-point drop for Gerald Ford between his first and second quarters. The largest for an elected president in his first year is Bill Clinton’s 11-point slide between his first and second quarters.

But if you look at recent polls in general, a bigger part of what seems to be going on is that a greatly downsized Republican party is now slowly regaining some of its straying supporters. However, the GOP has been unable to expand its party at a time when Obama is losing some of his own election 2008 winning coalition. All the talk about Obama being a “post-partisan” President now seems instantly outdated and rather quaint in this new era of megatoxic partisanship.

The key question will become: whether Obama can retain or win back parts of his straying 2008 winning coalition and whether the GOP can win back some of the people that once supported it. The bottom line right now seems to be that Obama and the Democrats are more involved in outreach than the GOP which seems to be continuing to be a party talking in a language and tone that its base may love but is a turn off to independent voters, many centrist Democrats, and moderate Republicans — even if they are not as enamored of Obama the 2009 President, versus Obama the 2008 Perception.

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  • As I see it the Republicans are still in a self destruct mode. While FOX news and Glen Beck may draw 3% of the population it’s still only 3%. We can see that in the NY23 race. Obama’s decline I suspect is the result of a loss of support from progressives, I for one am not pleased. But are the independents or progressives going to vote for a Michal Bachman Republican? Probably not. As I pointed out here the teabaggers and progressives have a lot more in common than they realize.

  • JSpencer

    It’s a tough crowd out there. Unemployment, war, lousy economy, “megatoxic partisanship” (apt phrase that), high expectations, short attention spans, anxiety, etc. Would McCain be enjoying higher ratings right now I wonder? Would anyone? To a large extent I think it goes with the territory. No doubt more could have been accomplished in this short 9 months if all of government had been working with the interests of the country in mind… rather than interests of the party, but of course that’s an absurdly antiquated idea.

  • AustinRoth

    We still seem to be missing the omnipresent down arrows from the Bush years whenever his poll numbers went down. And now you cannot hide behind the ‘Bush’s numbers were historically low’, as Obama has just set the record for biggest drop in a quarter for an elected President .Hope and change!

  • shannonlee

    The numbers aren’t good, but in the overall picture election picture they don’t mean much. It will hurt him when it comes to passing his agenda because spineless Dems need polls numbers and Presidential protection before they do anything.

    Election-wise, the Reps are a joke. No leadership at any level. No candidate to offer. No future in site. Who are the new young up and coming Reps?

    Obama could be polling at 40% in 2012 and still win.

  • DLS

    “We still seem to be missing the omnipresent down arrows from the Bush years whenever his poll numbers went down.”

    Imagine if Bush or McCain were in office right now, and the economy was in the shape it’s in now. It would give the most apocalyptic lunatics associated with “climate change” some serious competition.

    Imagine if Bush or McCain were in office right now, and the “stimulus” and other bungled efforts, and examples of mischief by the executive branch as well as the same party in Congress were as they are now, and producing the results they do. Nobody would be rushing to slander the public or Fox News out of desperation, as some currently are doing.

    Imagine of Bush or McCain had people in his administration (though it never would be) with as toxic political past baggage, even fairly recent controversial behavior and statements, as has happened already this year in the Obama administration (leading at least once to obvious departure in disgrace, in Van Jones’s case). Would would the Usual Suspects be doing, orders of magnitude greater (with ethics inverted, i.e., zero or negative), if this were a Republican administration?

    Hope, that always was a degenerate concept this time around. Change, we know is hypocrisy, et cetera.

  • DLS

    “Election-wise, the Reps are a joke.”

    This is not 1993. What could happen next year, you never know — the depth limits of the Demmies have been far from reached yet (sadly for the USA and Americans). Nobody can predict another 1994. But the open question remains how bad will the Dems get and how alien-far to the left will they attempt to go.

  • JSpencer

    “As I see it the Republicans are still in a self destruct mode.”Agreed, but they still don’t see it. They continue to depend on misrepresentation and obstruction, as though that will be enough to save them from themselves. Not a terribly inspired strategy.

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