Obama's Job Approval Declines for 3rd Straight Quarter to Near-Record Low
October 21, 2013 - 4:56 AM
That's a three point decline from the previous quarter, and it is the third largest quarter-to-quarter decline of his five-year (19-quarter) presidency.
Obama's highest approval rating (63 percent) came during his first quarter as president, and by the fifth quarter, it had dropped to 48.8 percent. Obama's lowest quarterly approval rating, 41 percent, came in the 11th quarter (third year) of his presidency.
Looking at the most recent quarter, Gallup says Obama's daily job approval rating dropped in August and September amid criticism over his call for military action in Syria and Russia's intervention to prevent it. The partial government shutdown that began on Oct. 1 and Obama's refusal to negotiate over that and the debt limit sent his job approval rating as low as 41 percent in the current quarter, before it rebounded slightly.
Gallup notes that three post-World War II presidents -- Ronald Reagan, Dwight Eisenhower, and Bill Clinton -- had significantly higher 19th quarter averages than Obama, all near 60 percent. Two presidents had lower 19th quarter averages than Obama: Richard Nixon, whose 19th quarter came during the Watergate investigations, and Lyndon Johnson, attributable mostly to the increasingly unpopular Vietnam War.
Obama's 19th quarter approval average is very similar to that of George W. Bush (43.9 percent). Bush's 19th quarter ratings drop came amid criticism of his handling of Hurricane Katrina, and it never recovered.
A decline in approval from the 19th to the 20th quarter has been the norm for presidents, Gallup says; only Reagan and Clinton did not see at least slight declines in their 20th quarter, and only Reagan's rating notably improved.
The implications, according to Gallup: Obama is suffering through another approval slump, something he experienced during the latter part of his first year into his second year as president, and during the latter part of his third year. After a relatively strong fourth year that included several quarters of higher ratings that aided his re-election, his approval rating has now declined in each of the last three quarters.
The legislative battles over the federal budget and the Affordable Care Act, as well as the federal debt limit, took a toll on the president's popularity, with his Gallup daily approval rating falling to 41% on some days during the shutdown.
The deal to end the gridlock over spending and the debt limit -- and problems with implementation of the Affordable Care Act -- may have some effect on Obama's 20th quarter ratings, which Gallup continues to track with its daily polls.