Obama approval doing better than Reagan, Clinton, according to poll data

By Stephen C. Webster
Sunday, October 10, 2010 21:38 EDT
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Despite negative economic forecasts and all the rue predicted for Democrats in November, President Obama’s approval rating is actually faring better than Presidents Reagan and Clinton at this point in their terms, according to an analysis of data provided by the Gallup polling organization.

In a survey of approximately 1,500 adults nation-wide, Gallup said on Oct. 6 that Obama’s approval rating was 48 percent. By comparison, Bill Clinton, the previous Democrat to reside in the White House, had a 42 percent approval rating at the same time in his presidency.

Republican icon Ronald Reagan, similarly, had an approval rating hovering around 42 percent at this time in his presidency, thanks to the country’s languishing economy which was largely credited for a Republican loss of 28 House seats in 1982.

President Obama faces an even deeper economic hole than Regan, with an official unemployment rate hovering around 9.6 percent, even as economists have largely credited the administration for stabilizing the hemorrhaging job markets at the end of George W. Bush’s terms.

In spite of this, the US lost around 95,000 jobs in Sept. 2010, according to government figures.

So far in 2010, the US added a rough average of 68,000 jobs per month: a far cry from the number of jobs lost. Economic forecasters say labor markets must generate at least 125,000 new jobs per month before unemployment will go down.

In a recent speech, Obama explained that about 8 million Americans had lost their jobs before his economic policies could start taking effect.

“It’s going to take us a while to get out of this hole,” he claimed.

Republicans hope to take over the US House of Representatives, which would require a net pickup of 40 seats. Between 34 and 54 seats are highly competitive this year, according to projections by the Cook Political Report, and Democrats are generally not favored to win.

In the US Senate, Republicans need to win 10 Democratic seats to claim the majority. With 37 seats up for re-election, a GOP majority is possible but unlikely, with only three races currently led by Republican candidates.

“The two presidents who were faring worse than Obama in opinion polls on the eve of the midterms were George W. Bush who stood at 38 percent in 2006 when his party lost 30 seats, and Harry Truman whose rating was 33 percent in 1946 when Democrats lost 55 seats,” noted Bruce Drake, contributing editor at Politics Daily.

Though Republican victories are largely anticipated in the media, a recent National Journal poll found that public approval ratings of GOP congressional leaders are actually lower than those for Democrats.

Only 24 percent said they approve of Republicans in Congress, compared to 30 percent for Democratic leadership.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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