Poll: Obama Job Approval Now Worse Than Carter's

Posted: Nov 29, 2011 4:30 PM

No, you're not experiencing deja vu.  I authored a strikingly similar post on this very topic last month, but that Obama-Carter poll comparison was more limited in scope (namely, one quarter).  This, on the other hand, is significantly worse news for Obamaphiles:

President Obama's slow ride down Gallup's daily presidential job approval index has finally passed below Jimmy Carter, earning Obama the worst job approval rating of any president at this stage of his term in modern political history. Since March, Obama's job approval rating has hovered above Carter's, considered among the 20th century's worst presidents, but today Obama's punctured Carter's dismal approval line. On their comparison chart, Gallup put Obama's job approval rating at 43 percent compared to Carter's 51 percent.

If only the GOP field had a Reagan in its midst, 2012 could be a cake walk.  Alas.  The US News piece also reveals how Obama's 43 percent rating stacks up against his modern-era counterparts at this juncture in their presidencies:

-- Harry S. Truman: 54 percent.

-- Dwight Eisenhower: 78 percent.

-- Lyndon B. Johnson: 44 percent.

-- Richard M. Nixon: 50 percent.

-- Ronald Reagan: 54 percent.

-- George H.W. Bush: 52 percent.

-- Bill Clinton: 51 percent.

-- George W. Bush: 55 percent.

What's more, Gallup finds that Obama's overall job approval rating so far has averaged 49 percent. Only three former presidents have had a worse average rating at this stage: Carter, Ford, and Harry S. Truman. Only Truman won re-election in an anti-Congress campaign that Obama's team is using as a model.

That last line serves as a reminder of Team Obama's current effort to lambaste the "do nothing," Republican Congress as the provenance of all Beltway policy and procedural dysfunction.  Like deliberately casting aside white working class voters, this tactic is fraught with political risk -- but does this failing, unpopular president have any choice?  I'll leave you with a chart I posted earlier.  Take special note of the president's trajectory among independents -- a demographic he mopped up in 2008:

Only three in ten independents think this president is doing a good job.  One in three centrist Democrats share the same low opinion. Also, according to Gallup's daily tracker, Obama is under water among every age bracket, including 18-29 year olds (48 percent approval).