Polling News

Obama’s Legacy May Not Be What He Hoped For

January 21, 2016

How will President Barak Obama’s legacy fare among other modern presidents?

A January 21 Gallup report highlights that Mr. Obama’s average approval rating for his seventh year in office was 46.2%, which is on par with the 46.5% average approval rating for two-term presidents.  This places him above the seventh-year averages of Presidents Harry Truman (26.5%), Ronald Reagan (48.2%), and George W. Bush (33.3%), but below Presidents Dwight Eisenhower (63.9%) and Bill Clinton (60.5%).

Though Mr. Obama’s approval rating last year increased from the previous year by 3.6 percentage points, he is destined to have one of the lowest average approval ratings of post-World War II presidents.  With an average rating of 47.3% (2008-2015), he would only rank higher than Truman (45.4%), Carter (45.5%) and Ford (47.2%). 

President Obama’s presidency has been plagued by the worst recovery from a recession in U.S. history and extreme partisanship.  He has averaged a 13% approval rating among Republicans since he took often, whereas other recent presidents have had more support from their opposing party.  For example, George W. Bush had an average approval rating of 23% among Democrats, Clinton 27% among Republicans, George H.W. Bush 44% among Democrats and Reagan 31% from Democrats.

It is unlikely in his final year in office the President will see a dramatic increase in his approval rating average, especially given strong discontent about the direction of the country and the economy.

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