President Barack Obama’s approval ratings have hit a three-year high according to a new Gallup poll.
Obama, who is currently finishing the final year of his eight-year presidency, has a 50 percent approval rating among Americans. This is up from his 46 percent approval rating in 2015.
Gallup conducted the poll between February 29 and March 6 and surveyed 3,563 adults all over the nation. It reported a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.
As can be expected, the overwhelming majority of Obama’s support came from Democrats, 87 percent of whom support the job he is doing. This is a six-percent increase from the beginning of 2010.
Only 11 percent of Republicans, however, gave President Barack Obama good ratings, slightly below the GOP average.
At his highest, Obama has reached an almost 70 percent approval rating. At his lowest, he has dipped blow 40 percent.
Compared to his predecessor, George W. Bush, Obama is faring much better in the last year of his presidency. In March 2008, President Bush only had a 32 percent approval rating. As with the current president, he received particularly low support from the opposing party.
Obama’s closest predecessor from the Democratic Party, President Bill Clinton, did comparatively better in a Gallup poll in March 2000, achieving a 63 percent approval rating.
President Clinton also did better than Obama in terms of garnering support from the Republican Party. According to his ratings from the 2000 Gallup poll, 27 percent of Republicans supported Clinton in March. By the time he left office in January 2001, President Bill Clinton had a 66 percent approval rating among Democrats and a 39 percent approval ratings from Republicans.
Increased political polarization may be to blame for Obama and Bush’s low support among members of the opposing party. According to a 2014 report from the Pew Research Center, Republicans and Democrats are more divided than they have ever been in the last two decades.
There is no telling what could have caused the rise in Obama’s approval ratings, though.
Some members of the media believe Obama’s high approval is due to worry about his successors — most likely former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton or Republican front-runner Donald Trump.
“I am not a highly paid political strategist,” claimed Slate’s Ben Mathis-Lilley, “but it seems like there is a pretty obvious reason why Obama’s poll numbers would be rising right now, namely: The dawning sense of terror enveloping Americans who are realizing that they are going to have to replace him with, probably, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Trump would be the most-disliked non-incumbent nominee since at least 1992— and Hillary Clinton would be the second-most-disliked.
Mathis-Lilley believes America under Obama’s presidency is far better than it was eight years ago. Some of the improvements he cites are the death of Osama bin Laden, the growing economy, and the larger number of Americans with health insurance.
“And the person who was around for all that is going to be replaced by Clinton — who may well continue Obama’s policies but is widely perceived as dishonest and disingenuous — or Donald Trump, who is America’s worst human,” continued Mathis-Lilley.
However, if Mathis-Lilley wants to garner support for his argument, he has an uphill battle ahead of him. Many presidents have experienced high approval ratings towards the end of their terms despite that fact that the public did not experience any “dawning sense of terror” over their successors.
Case in point: George H.W. Bush,
Bush’s approval ratings increased towards the end of his presidency, yet the public voted him out of office so they could replace him with his successor, President Clinton.
It is also too early to tell if President Obama’s approval ratings will continue upward into January 2017, when he and his family will have to leave the White House. His 50 percent approval rating could be nothing more than a brief peak in an otherwise bad year that could leave a blemish on his entire career.
But until the books close on his presidency, the world will have to wait and see what history will say about the presidency of Barack Obama.
[Image by Tom Lynn/AP Images]