President Obama has been dragged through the mud by both media and public alike, with his approval rating sometimes sinking as low as 14 percent among the GOP due to perceived damage to the economy and a weak foreign policy game. Despite a mostly stagnating economy and disappointing unemployment rates, President Obama’s approval rating seems to be going upwards.
On a more positive note, Democrats credit Obama with creating jobs as well as de-escalating the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They also note that he greatly reduced the number of Americans who have to depend on welfare, and made healthcare affordable for thousands. Some also claim Obama vastly reduced the number of uninsured Americans.
Some presidents’ approval ratings must be taken with caution, though. Pew Research found that, among other factors, things like the party a person belongs to have increasingly affected if they like a certain president. For instance, Democrats tended to have a bad taste in their mouths about Republican Commander-In-Chief Dwight Eisenhower. Meanwhile, Republicans were sour about leaders such as Bill Clinton and President Obama.
Some major events in history (and how a president reacts) can also influence their approval ratings. When President Obama freed several terrorist operatives in exchange for an imprisoned U.S. army deserter, for instance, most people were none too happy. Along the same lines, there were mixed reactions to how Franklin Roosevelt handled the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in the 1940s.
There has also been speculation that President Obama’s approval ratings could help Hillary Clinton. CNN found that 94 percent of voters who back the incumbent leader also support Clinton in her bid for the Democratic Party’s presidential nod.
Let’s go win this, together. pic.twitter.com/vCKpROauyZ
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) July 29, 2016
This isn’t a huge surprise; with Bernie Sanders having dropped from the race, Democrats are increasingly seeing Hillary as their only salvation from Donald Trump and stressing unity behind her. Even First Lady Michelle Obama touted Clinton’s qualifications for the office of the presidency. It may have been that Sanders decided to admit near-inevitable defeat, or that he wanted to prevent a split vote among liberals.
Currently, Hillary Clinton has a 49 percent approval rating among voters to Donald Trump’s 39 percent. The sample is only among 1,022 registered voters, however, and some of the sample said they would not vote or were unsure.
Either way, it couldn’t hurt the Clinton campaign to have President Obama behind them. To put things in perspective, the most-approved pres in recent history was John F. Kennedy, with an astounding 70 percent rating. Dwight Eisenhower comes in close with 65 percent, and George W. Bush has a mere 49.4 percent.
Of course, events beyond the president’s control can also impact numbers. The 9/11 terror attacks, for instance, damaged the economy for some time during the second President Bush’s reign. Such disasters have not struck the Obama administration as hard or for as long.
Harry Truman was another president with a fairly low approval ranking, about 49 percent. This might have been due to the fact that the former commander-in-chief dropped the atom bombs on Japan that brought WWII to a close.
The advancement of technology might also play a role in a president’s approval ratings (or lack thereof). With the advent of the internet and TV, every move a president makes can be broadcasted to the entire world within seconds. This nearly immediate awareness means that whatever a president does or doesn’t do is more likely to come to light and be judged by millions.
President Nixon exemplifies this perfectly. His super-low approval rating of 24 percent might have something to do with the fact that television was just beginning to become widespread during his administration. It’s possible folks would not have known the bloodiness of the war Nixon was waging in Vietnam if not for their TV sets.
Let us know what you think of President Obama’s approval ratings. Are they well deserved, or not so much?
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