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Trend on presidential approval among independents

Political independents are again front-and-center in the latest analyses of new Post-ABC polling data (here and here), and a look back to data of yore show President Obama facing the highest recorded one-year disapproval rating among this key group.

Among independents at one-year-mark:

            Approve   Disapprove
Obama         49%         49%	
G.W. Bush     81          15
Clinton       52          36
G.H.W. Bush   77          21
Reagan        58          34
Carter*       51          32
Ford          49          34
Nixon         62          24 
Johnson       63          22
Kennedy       72          14
Eisenhower    75          13

*Reagan through Obama from Post-ABC; 
Carter and previous from Gallup.

By Jon Cohen  |  January 18, 2010; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  The Independents  
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Warning: The polling from the first year of a presidency is an especially unreliable barometer of a president's success or prospects for a second term.

Both Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush had high overall numbers in their first year. Both went on to lose their re-election bids in landslides.

George W. Bush Jr had soaring numbers at the end of his first year, but 9-11 and it's fallout played a huge role in this. Before 9-11, GWB 43's numbers were moving in the same direction as Obama's. And he was narrowly re-elected.

Contrary, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton both had miserable numbers at the end of their first years. Both went on to solid landslide re-elections.

So, in spite of the fact that this data is interesting, there is very little tea-leaf-reading to be done out of this. That the independents are now more split during the largest recession/depression since 1932 should be no surprise to anyone at all. When the economy goes sour, the party in power always pays a heavy price for it.

And yet, at the same time, Obama's overall ratings, when averaged, are hovering around 52-53, right in the zone where he won in 2008.

Posted by: bonncaruso | January 21, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

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