If you’ve spent any time at all paying attention to the mainstream, or what is often called the “liberal” media, you might be under the impression that the country is turning on President Obama, that his approval rating has never been lower. The only problem with that is that it’s simply not true.
The news media reminders arrive almost daily now: President Obama’s approval rating is low and going lower. McClatchy Newspapers highlighted the “dropping approval ratings,” while the Washington Post declared “President Obama’s approval ratings have plunged to record lows.” The Christian Science Monitor noted the numbers have “plummeted.” The Washington Examiner stressed the president’s approvals were “sinking to historic lows,” while an Atlantic headline announced, “Obama’s Sinking Approval Could Drag Democrats Down With Him.”
A plummeting presidential approval rating right before a midterm election definitely adds drama to the news cycle and it has had the effect of scaring Democratic candidates away from the President, but if anyone would actually sit down and look at the numbers, they’d see that Obama’s approval ratings have hardly budged since the beginning of the year. As a matter of fact, they aren’t much lower than they were in October of 2012, right before he was reelected in a landslide.
According to the cumulative ratings posted daily at Real Clear Politics, which averages together an array of national polls to come up with Obama’s composite job approval rating, the president’s approval on January 1, 2014 stood at 42.6 percent. The president’s approval rating on October 30, was 42 percent. So over the course of ten months, and based on more than one hundred poll results in 2014, Obama’s approval rating declined less than one point.
I can safely say Obama is the only president in U.S. history whose approval rating dropped a single digit over a ten-month stretch and it was described as having “plummeted.”
In the weeks leading to the 2012 election, things weren’t much better. There was a big uptick immediately before the election, probably in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and Mitt Romney’s infamous 47 percent remarks, but before that, the President was only at 44 percent.
No, his approval ratings are not stellar. They’re only 3 percent over his all-time low of 39 percent. Historically, Obama’s lowest ratings are higher than the lowest of any President since John F. Kennedy. That’s right. At Ronald Reagan’s lowest, he was at just 35 percent. George W. Bush once hit 19 percent.
Back to the present, Congress has an approval rating of below 13 percent, yet somehow, it’s Obama’s approval ratings, at more than triple that, that makes headlines and makes congressional candidates turn tail and run.