Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Presidential Poll Numbers
When I read about a president's poll numbers "tanking," I smile to myself and remember the days when Saint Ronnie's approval numbers were at 35%.
President Obama's approval rating of 41% seems almost atmospheric compared with President Reagan's abysmal 35%.
How quick those who dislike Mr. Obama are to jump on his approval numbers as a sign of, well something, but how they conveniently forget that every president goes through a period of decline; and that ultimately it is historians who will judge a president's term in office.
Meanwhile, as someone once said, a president's poll numbers are nothing more than a snapshot of a particular period in his presidency.
For those who have faulty memories, here's what the country thought of Reagan. HINT: He was NOT as popular in office as he has become since he left office and since he died.
"Ronald Reagan From the People’s Perspective: A Gallup Poll Review Reagan’s image improved substantially in the years after he left office
by Frank Newport, Jeffrey M. Jones, and Lydia Saad
GALLUP NEWS SERVICE PRINCETON, NJ -- Ronald Reagan, the nation's 40th president, became one of the nation's most revered public figures in recent years, a distinct turnabout from the more routinely average ratings he received while he served in office between 1981 and 1989.
Reagan's job approval ratings in his first years in office were hurt by the bad economy, and the last years of his administration were marred by the negative fallout from what came to be known as the Iran-Contra affair."
"Reagan's Ratings While He Was in Office Reagan was not an extraordinarily well-regarded president during his eight years in office.
He averaged a 53% job approval rating during his presidency, slightly below average for all U.S. presidents for which Gallup has recorded job approval ratings. Reagan's ratings were higher than the averages of his three immediate predecessors -- Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, and Richard Nixon, supporting the arguments of those who contend that one of Reagan's major contributions was to restore confidence in the presidency after the battering it took in the 1970s.
But the two presidents who followed Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, each had higher average ratings than Reagan, as did three earlier presidents -- Lyndon Johnson, John F. Kennedy, and Dwight Eisenhower."
"...although 1983 began for Reagan with a 35% job approval rating -- the worst of his administration -- things started to look better."
"...in November 1986, the Iran-Contra affair broke into the news. That same month, Reagan was on television denying that there had been any trading of arms for hostages, but the damage was done. His ratings plummeted from 63% in late October to 47% in early December, and stayed relatively low throughout 1987."
According to Gallup, Mr. Obama's approval rating average to date is 49%. That's about what it has been, give or take a few points, for the past almost 5 years he has been in office.
And President Bill Clinton, [who was impeached, but found not guilty], as you can see from the chart taken from Gallup, had higher approval ratings than did President Reagan.
So to the opposition who is prancing around Mr. Obama's current dip in the popularity polls, I'd caution them not to get too drunk on the numbers quite yet. We do have a little more than 3 years to go before Mr. Obama's term is over.