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Posted at 5:16 PM ET, 01/ 4/2011

Obama and Reagan: poll twins

By Jonathan Capehart

Democrats, liberals and some elements of the so-called professional Left are tickled that Gallup's latest daily tracking poll shows that President Obama's approval rating has cracked 50 percent for the first time since May/June 2010. But take a look at the chart below. Notice anything?

GALLUP.jpg

Look how relatively consistent Obama's approval rating has been. Sure, there have been blips up and down. But considering the hell he caught for much of 2010 (health care, BP oil spill, horrible job numbers), that's not bad.

Still, the most fascinating graph is in Gallup's Presidential Job Approval Center. When you click the link, it will show you "Obama job approval" numbers. Go two tabs over to "Compare Presidents." You will see a dashed line signifying the average approval ratings of all presidents since Harry S. Truman and then you'll see a green line for Obama. Now click on Ronald Reagan and marvel at what you see. The ratings track so closely that you'd be forgiven for reaching for 3-D glasses.

ABC News deputy political director Z. Byron Wolf wrote about this similarity last July. That Obama and Reagan are still almost identical poll twins could portend good news for the current occupant of the Oval Office down the road. After all, the economy roared back to life under Reagan and he sailed to a second term. If you believe in omens, this one isn't half bad.

By Jonathan Capehart  | January 4, 2011; 5:16 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

Obama's appeal has always had a mysterious quality about it. It has never been about his performance as a politician or even about ideas or policies that he has espoused. It remains purely personal even though he is not particularly warm or personable. As a President, he has certainly remained rather aloof.

I suspect a real sociological analysis about his appeal would be informative about America.

Posted by: concernedcitizen3 | January 4, 2011 11:20 PM | Report abuse

@concernedcitizen3: Worthwhile comment on your last sentence - thanks. One thing to consider is the symbolic quality that Presidents Reagan and Obama share (though with different audiences) that other presidents (Carter, Clinton, both Bushes) lacked. Both Reagan (in morning in America) and Obama (in change we can believe in) successfully present positive symbols to many/possibly a majority of Americans. If so, the 2012 election could look a lot like the 1984 election.

Posted by: avagabond | January 5, 2011 9:17 AM | Report abuse

I fear the man is either a fraud or was taken aside as soon as he got to the White House and told who really runs this country. His hair turned grey instantly and the idealist ran away.

Maybe it's time to find another B actor puppet....seems to make our doom more palatable.

Posted by: mot2win | January 5, 2011 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Jon ... are you serious? These polls don't portend Obama's reelection.

And Obama's numbers are skewed by yes the racial factor...you know that black Americans are NOT going to dump the first partially black president, short of any major self-destructive behavior.

Reagan's poll numbers were based on political ideology, with the media elites laughing at him, while that same group solidly backs Obama.

Posted by: Hazmat77 | January 5, 2011 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Jon ... are you serious? These polls don't portend Obama's reelection.

And Obama's numbers are skewed by yes the racial factor...you know that black Americans are NOT going to dump the first partially black president, short of any major self-destructive behavior.

Reagan's poll numbers were based on political ideology, with the media elites laughing at him, while that same group solidly backs Obama.

Posted by: Hazmat77 | January 5, 2011 10:32 AM | Report abuse

How funny that the majority of the comments so far can't simply acknowledge that he's still popular (and gaining) with many who respond to the polls--like me. Is he the liberal president I'd hoped for? Not really, though I think it is obvious now that he was seriously underestimated by the right after the disastrous mid-terms.

You can question America's judgement (how do you think the left viewed you when W was elected a second time?); you can say his appeal is 'mysterious'; you can seven imply that it's really just all the black people keeping his numbers high. But those comments reflect more on you than him. He's a president who by the very nature of his party affiliation is going to be 'wrong' in the eyes of millions of people, and 'right' in the eyes of millions of others.

But beyond that...he's getting some things done that I had wanted when I helped to put him in office by casting my vote. As the economy continues to show signs of improvement, and as the congress simultaneously digs its heels in and tries over and over to make him look bad, I think we're already seeing the results--he will become even more popular. America might not like all of his agenda, but I think we really don't like politicians wasting money in a time of crisis just to teach the president a partisan lesson. That's my two cents.

Posted by: Jazzooo | January 5, 2011 11:32 AM | Report abuse

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