Falling Approval Rating? Pshaw, Obama's Fine

Popularity is fleeting in today's climate; he's got tons of time
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2009 1:51 PM CDT
President George W. Bush, poses with President-elect Barack Obama, and former presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, Jan. 7, 2009, in the Oval Office.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama’s approval rating is dropping, but that’s “dog bites man” stuff, writes Paul Maslin of Salon. Every president sees his approval rating drop. Obama’s drop has been markedly precipitous—from 69% to 54%—but here’s why he needn’t worry:

  • Since the dawn of mass media, approval ratings have steadily declined, from an average 71% for Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson to 56% for Clinton and the two Bushes. “The numbers of old are simply unattainable.”

  • The record for the two lowest first-term ratings are held by Clinton and Reagan. Bush I and II, meanwhile, managed 89% and 90%, the highest ratings ever, and did far worse in their re-election bids. Obama has lots of time, and front-loading bad news is OK.
  • Ronald Reagan isn’t walking through that door. “The GOP is still exploring new depths of partisan unpopularity,” and doesn’t have anyone that can challenge Obama.