Is Obama having trouble connecting with Main Street?
The latest issue of The New Yorker features a typically engrossing, and even convincing, George Packer article limning Barack Obama's failure to connect to Main Street. The only question is whether it's true.
I compiled the chart above using Gallup's Presidential Approval Center. It tracks the approval ratings of Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan. As you can see, they all look ... pretty much the same. Bush, Obama and Reagan are all in lockstep until Bush gets his 9/11 bump. Clinton, who was pretty good at talking to Main Street, underperforms the others before mounting a bit of a comeback in his second year.
And don't forget the context of all of this: Obama is facing a far worse economy than any of the others (though Clinton and Reagan also faced early recessions). But despite much higher unemployment across the country, Obama doesn't seem to be doing worse than his predecessors. That doesn't mean he's not underperforming relative to some ideal mean, but it does suggest he's not having unique trouble connecting with the country.
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