50% Approval Rating Just Another Number: Silver

Obama likely to win re-election, Dems to keep House majority with current numbers
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2009 3:11 PM CDT
President Barack Obama walks back to his hotel after going to the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel for a private meeting with the Kennedy family in Boston, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2009.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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(Newser) – Much has been made of President Obama’s 50% job-approval rating, but that number in and of itself is “not particularly newsworthy,” writes Nate Silver for FiveThirtyEight.com. Obama could probably win in 2012 even with approval below 50%: George W. Bush was re-elected with the approval of less than half of the electorate, as did Harry Truman.

Silver’s analysis of recent elections suggests that a president at 50% approval is as much as 90% likely to win re-election. The chances of staying in office don't reach the break-even point until he slips to 44% approval. For the 2010 House elections, Obama’s current approval correlates to a loss of 26 seats, which, though it would sting, would see Democrats remain the majority party.