Presidential Approval Ratings: How Obama Stacks Up
Bespoke Investment Group
June 7, 2011
Following last week's uptick in the unemployment rate, we have heard multiple references to the fact that no US President since WWII has ever been re-elected with the unemployment rate above 7.2%. Not surprisingly, with the jobless rate now at 9.1%, President Obama's approval rating currently stands at a rather tepid 47%.
Over on the USA Today's website, they have an interesting tool that allows readers to compare Presidential approval ratings throughout a President's term in office. In the chart below, we compare the Presidential approval ratings for all US Presidents going back to 1953. Of his eleven predecessors, only two had a lower approval rating than Obama. The first was Jimmy Carter, who had an approval rating of 39% at this point in his first and only term. Surprisingly, the only other President with a lower approval rating 822 days into his first term was Ronald Reagan (41%).
Although the majority of Americans (53%) do not currently approve of the job President Obama is doing, you would not know it by looking at the stock market. As measured by the S&P 500, no President has seen returns even close to the returns that Barack Obama has seen in his first 822 days in office (66.1%). The next closest to Obama's 66.1% return is the 46.6% gain that Eisenhower saw in his first 822 days. At this point in George W. Bush's first term, the S&P 500 was down 33.6% and President Bush's approval rating stood at 70%. If someone had told you that the S&P 500 would be up 66.1% during Obama's first 822 days in office, what would you have guessed his approval rating would be?
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