President Obama’s current approval rating is 47%, according to Gallup Polls. In comparison to the past 11 presidents at the same point in their presidencies, which is about 700 days, Obama’s current rating is higher than 3 of the last 11 presidents. As the chart below shows, Ronald Reagan was lower than Obama’s current rating, as well as Bill Clinton and Gerald Ford, while the remaining 8 presidents each had higher ratings than Obama. John Kennedy holds the highest approval rating at 74%, whereas Ronald Reagan holds the lowest approval rating at 37%.Even though President Obama’s current approval rating is below most of the recent presidents, the next six months could bring better results for Obama. The 4 most recent presidents experienced an increase or had no change in their approval rating 6 months from now (885th day in presidency). This statistic indicates a likelihood for Obama’s approval rating to increase 6 months from now.
However, among the 11 most recent presidents, 6 experienced a decline in their approval rating between the 700th and 885th day in their presidency. The chart below shows the approval rating of the 11 most recent presidents on the 885th day in their presidency and whether the rating increased or decreased since the 700th day. Six presidents had decreases, 4 presidents saw increases, and 1 president had no change. Therefore, even though the 4 most recent presidents had an increase or maintained their approval rating between the 700th and 885th day of their presidency, a majority of the last 11 presidents had a decrease in their approval rating during the next 6 months of their presidency. This statistic indicates a likelihood for Obama’s approval rating to decrease 6 months from now.
Still, since there is only a slight majority of the last 11 presidents who had a decrease in their approval rating between the 700th and 885th day in their presidency, this historical statistic is not necessarily a good indicator of whether Obama’s current rating will increase or decrease in the near future. Rather, the trend of the 4 most recent presidents is a more sound historical comparison and indicator for the near future of Obama’s approval rating. Also, the rather productive lame duck session in Washington, which included a repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a 9/11 responders bill, and an extension of tax cuts, shows an increasing outreach to moderates that could also favor Obama’s approval rating.
Lastly, the incoming Republican majority in the House will also bring compromises that will show Obama’s willingness to govern from the middle and help Obama pick up independent support.