“I know well that no man will ever bring out of that office the reputation which carries him into it,” Thomas Jefferson once wrote in a letter to Edward Rutledge about the American presidency. “The honeymoon would be as short in that case as in any other, and its moments of ecstasy would be ransomed by years of torment and hatred.”
Who could deny our third president’s candid and prescient assessment? In 2008, President Obama was swept into office boasting approval ratings nearly eclipsing 80 percent. Fast forward five years, however, and the “moments of ecstasy” he once enjoyed have given way to disappointment, disillusionment, and, yes, disapproval.
Speaking of which, according to a new CNN/ORC International survey, the president’s disapproval rating is exactly the same as his predecessor’s: 51 percent. This was, perhaps, wholly inconceivable during the Hope & Change era. After all, when Bush left office, his disapproval ratings -- depending on which poll you looked at -- were in the low to mid-60s. Today, his approval/disapproval numbers are virtually indistinguishable from his successor:
In January 2009, as President George W. Bush was days away from leaving the White House, the unpopular President's favorable rating stood at 35% in a CNN/ORC International survey. The man who was succeeding him, Barack Obama, was fresh from his historic 2008 presidential election victory and had a 78% favorable rating among Americans.
But a new CNN/ORC International poll released Thursday indicates a milestone of sorts: Obama is now as unpopular as Bush. Fifty-one percent have an unfavorable view of Bush; 51% feel the same way about Obama. Obama's favorable rating is now at 47% - a new low for him, and virtually identical to Bush's 46% favorable rating, a significant improvement over his 2009 numbers. ...
"This marks the first time in a CNN poll that a majority of Americans have an unfavorable view of Obama," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "And, at 51%, his unfavorable his higher than his favorables for the first time as well."
Mistakes, crises and scandals have taken a toll on this president -- as they do on all presidents. It was only a matter of time.