Bogus Stat Alert

There’s a meme bouncing around today which has it that President Obama’s approval numbers have now ‘fallen’ even lower than Jimmy Carter’s at the same point in his presidency. I even heard it picked up on MSNBC.

This is a bogus factoid on a couple different levels.

President Obama’s approval rating is definitely in the danger zone in reelection terms. But it’s actually been rising over the last month or two. His net disapproval has gone from over ten to roughly 5 percentage points. (You can see a graph here.) This new factoid stems from the fact that Carter’s approval numbers actually spiked dramatically (about 20 points) in November of 1979 at the beginning of the Iranian hostage crisis.