Are Barack Obama’s Approval Ratings Ever Going to Budge, Even After a Stream of Bad Press?

Barack Obama is just as polarizing of a president as we’ve ever had. Sometimes you bring him up, people are quick to defend him. Other times, you want to make sure you avoid saying his name at all in fear of starting a riot. One would think that the IRS scandal, Benghazi, and a summer full of international trouble might have shaken his fan base a bit, but Obama’s approval ratings tell a different story — one that says that his supporters haven’t waned much since his re-election in 2012.

Recent research into Obama’s approval ratings is showing the president is currently holding steady at 41 percent approval, with 53 percent outwardly disapproving on the president, following Gallup’s most current numbers. However, a Washington Post editorial points out that this might not necessarily be great news. Obama’s approval ratings aren’t hitting a George W. Bush-like low, but they certainly aren’t at John F. Kennedy-like highs either.

Of course, any one point in time is difficult to gauge a president’s approval ratings. George W. Bush had some of the highest and lowest recorded presidential approval ratings of all time — with 90 percent approval following September 11 and 25 percent approval nearing the end of his second term. Obama’s approval ratings have stayed relatively the same after an initial high of 69 percent during the beginning of his presidency. Since then, he’s stayed not-above 60 and never-below 38 — usually not leaving the 40-to-50 percent range, following Gallup‘s poll numbers.

Obama's approval ratings not changing much heading into new elections

Because of these stubborn numbers, upcoming mid-term elections are set to be a true test of just how much people like what Obama is doing. A Real Clear Politics article from Sean Trende pointed out how this has historically been the case.

“It’s no secret that I think elections are largely referenda on the party in power. Jay Cost noted in late 2011 that the state-by-state outcomes in the 2004 election corresponded heavily to President Bush’s job approval in the state as measured by exit polls. Bush lost only four states where his job approval was positive, and won zero states where his job approval was negative. Going back to 1972, incumbents rarely win the votes of those who do not approve of them.”


However, Trende goes on to say that in many of the states that are holding elections, Obama approvers and disapprovers moved very slightly over the course of the past few years. That means that where party lines have already been long-since set in stone, Obama’s approval rating may actually have only a small effect on how things turn out in the end. But Democrats shouldn’t stop breathing heavily quite yet.

“Some of these challengers will catch fire, and some of these races will surprise us. If the president’s job approval is still around 43 percent in November — lower than it was on Election Day in 2010 — the question would probably not be whether the Democrats will hold the Senate, but whether Republicans can win 54 or 55 seats. Given the numbers right now, that should not be unthinkable.”

Does Obama’s approval ratings match your own? Will you vote for a candidate based on well you think Obama is doing?

[Photo via Mr. Conservative]