Approval By Numbers: How Obama Compares To Past Presidents


1||TPM compiled Gallup’s monthly presidential approval ratings for every President’s first two years in office, dating back to Dwight Eisenhower. Each plot point represents the poll taken closest to the end of given month, beginning at the time of inauguration. Polls were not always taken at uniform intervals, so some approximation was necessary. In the cases of Johnson and Ford, who were not inaugurated in January like the other Presidents on this list, their data begins one month from the date they assumed office.

An accompanying article for this slideshow can be found here.
||Source: Gallup&&

2||George W. Bush saw his approval ratings soar following 9/11. ||Source: Gallup&&

3||Obama and Clinton’s approval ratings sagged similarly, and they both suffered massive midterm losses. ||Source: Gallup&&

4||Obama vs. George H. W. Bush ||Source: Gallup&&

5||Aside from their starting points, the approval ratings for Obama and Reagan are nearly identical. ||Source: Gallup&&

6||Jimmy Carter’s approval rating also followed a similar path to Obama’s. ||Source: Gallup&&

7||Gerald Ford’s popularity took a huge hit when he pardoned Richard Nixon. ||Source: Gallup&&

8||Nixon was fairly popular–at least before Watergate. ||Source: Gallup&&

9||Ascending to office after John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Johnson began his presidency with a high approval rating that, like the approval of most modern presidents, slouched toward the two-year mark. Note: There was no Gallup data available for part of Johnson’s first two years. ||Source: Gallup&&

10||Obama vs. John F. Kennedy ||Source: Gallup&&

11||Obama vs. Dwight Eisenhower. ||Source: Gallup&&