Ronald Wilson Obama ? Comparing Presidential Approval Ratings
Presidential approval ratings at the 18-month mark don't tell you much about re-election prospects.
A nifty new tool at Gallup’s web site allows you to compare Presidential approval ratings for every President stretching back to Harry Truman.
Here, for example is a comparison of Barack Obama (to date) and Ronald Reagan:
The dotted line represent the historical average.
As you can see, Obama (represented by the shorter line) is at roughly same approval level that Reagan was at this point in his first term, and that it wasn’t until roughly a year before the 1984 elections, when the economy had finally entered a clear growth pattern, that Reagan’s approval ratings started to turn upward.
You see the same thing if you compare Obama and Bill Clinton:
Of course, there is also the cautionary tale that’s told by comparing Obama and Jimmy Carter:
The lesson is that you can’t tell anything about what’s going to happen in 2012 by where the President’s approval numbers are today, so don’t try.