Obama’s First 100 Days, And The Polls

April 27, 2009 12:10 p.m.

With President Obama’s first 100 days nearly finished, let’s take a look at how he’s done in the polls, from the honeymoon to the present.

Obama’s approval rating remains solid, but has fallen by about ten points as the honeymoon effect has worn off, while disapproval is up by about 15 points due to the loss of soft support and some initial undecideds. And the system appears to have found a temporary equilibrium state, a general range that could potentially hold until future events disrupt it.

The Pollster.com graph tells the story:

One thing to note is that Obama’s support has gone down since the initial grace period around inauguration — but during March, it basically leveled out. The growth in disapproval has been a bit higher than the decrease in approval, probably because the honeymoon had a mixture of people who would normally disapprove instead approving or being up in the air, but have now made up their minds.

Some further analysis after the jump.

Each pollster tends to have its own internal house bias — meaning in the technical sense of a statistical skew from the median, rather than an ideological spin. For example, ABC/Washington Post tends to put Obama’s rating at the high end, while Rasmussen is at the low end. But looking at each firm individually, the direction and extent of the change in the numbers is pretty consistent.

For example, Rasmussen put Obama’s approval at 65% on Inauguration Day, to 30% disapproval. The number is now 55% approval to 44% disapproval — a 10% decrease of in approval, and a growth of 14% in disapproval. An ABC/Washington Post poll from shortly before inauguration was 80%-15%, compared to the latest result of 69%-26%.

Gallup, meanwhile, is showing hardly any net decrease in approval, but a significant increase in disapproval: At the inauguration it was 68%-12%, and is now 65%-29%. Approval has meandered a bit, falling as low as 59%, and is currently on an up-swing again — but the upward trend of the disapproval has been much more consistent.

This table lays out the changes:

Pollster Near
Now Change
Rasmussen 65%-30% 59%-39% 55%-44% -10%/+14%
ABC/WaPo 80%-15% 66%-29% 69%-26% -11%/+11%
Gallup 68%-12% 60%-29% 65%-29% -3%/+17%
Fox 65%-16% 58%-32% 62%-29% -3%/+13%
Pew 70%-18% 61%-26% 63%-26% -7%/+8%
AP/GfK 74%-15% N/A 64%-30% -10%/15%
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