Obama Less Popular Than Bush?
George W. Bush left office as one of the most despised presidents in American history. Could Barack Obama actually be less popular?
Rasmussen says so: “The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows that 25% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-six percent (46%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -21.” Jim Hoft notes that Bush had a 43% disapproval rating when he left office and quips, “In less than one year Barack Obama managed to pi$$ off more people than George W. Bush.”
Even by the standards of the Rasmussen poll — which most observers agree slants Republican — Obama is still more popular than Bush was in the linked January 5 survey. Bush had only 13% strong approval, compared to Obama’s 25%. Bush’s total disapproval was 62% compared to Obama’s 56%. On the other hand, the combined strong/somewhat approval for Bush was 48% compared to Obama’s 44%.
A better indicator of presidential approval is the RealClearPolitics average.
You can see right away that Rasmussen is an extreme outlier, with an approval rating 5.6 points below average and a disapproval a whopping 11 points above average. And those averages are skewed by the inclusion of Rasmussen’s numbers!
In fairness, however, Rasmussen is purportedly sampling only likely voters, whereas most of the others are sampling adults, regardless of whether they’re even registered to vote. So they’re looking at a different universe of people. This is not only fair but necessary when trying to predict electoral outcomes. It’s rather silly, however, when trying to measure presidential popularity.