Obama’s approval rating – under half

As President Barack Obama marks 500 days in the White House, a new average of the most recent national polls indicates that less than half of the public approves of the job he’s doing in office.

According to a CNN Poll of Polls, 48 percent of Americans approve of the job Obama’s doing, with 45 percent saying they disapprove of the president’s performance. This stands in sharp contrast to Obama’s popularity after his first 100 days in office, which was at 63 percent in a CNN Poll of Polls compiled for that occassion.

The CNN Poll of Polls’ Thursday release comes on the president’s 500th day in the White House, with the count starting on January 20, 2009, the day Obama was inaugurated. The CNN Poll of Polls consists of the six surveys conducted in late May and early June: Fox (May 18-19), NBC (May 20-23), CNN/Opinion Research Corporation (May 21-23), Quinnipiac University (May 19-24), CBS (May 20-24) and the Gallup tracking poll (May 29-June 1). The CNN Poll of Polls does not have a sampling error. “Obama’s administration has had a lot of ups and downs this year, but the average of his approval ratings has remained relatively stable,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “His average approval rating has hovered between 48 percent and 50 percent throughout 2010, and for the past three months, it has ben at either 48 or 49 percent.”

So how does Obama’s approval rating at the 500 day mark compare to his most recent predecessors? George W. Bush’s approval rating stood 77 percent in late May 2002, just eight months after the September 11 attacks. Bill Clinton was at 51 percent in late May 1994. George H.W. Bush stood at 65 percent in May of 1990. Ronald Reagan’s approval rating was at 45 percent in May of 1982. Jimmy Carter stood at 43 percent in May of 1978 and Richard Nixon was at 59 percent in May of 1970.

“The changes in Obama’s average approval rating has been uncannily similar to the ratings that Ronald Reagan got through his first 500 days,” Holland says. “In their first year in office, both of them had approval ratings in the 60s until late summer. Both of them dropped below 50 percent for the first time in November of their first year in office. Neither of them got over 50 percent in the first five months of their second year in office. If the Reagan pattern holds, Obama’s ratings will stay in the 40s for the rest of this year, hit bottom in January of 2011, and then start to slowly rebound. Of course, history rarely repeats itself.”

Teen sex – recent survey numbers and percentages

I found this article very interesting, so am sharing it on my site. While I am not quite alarmed at the 40% statistic, I do however believe that this is higher than it was since I was in high school a decade ago.

More than 40 percent of unmarried U.S. teenagers — or 4.3 million teen males and females — have had sex at least once, a new U.S. government report shows. This continues a flattening trend seen since 2002 and caps a downward trend seen between 1995 and 2002, especially in males, said report author Joyce Abma. The report was issued Wednesday by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics.

“One of the great success stories of the past two decades has been the extraordinary declines in teen pregnancy and childbearing,” said Bill Albert, chief program officer at the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. “This progress has recently stalled out.”

Perhaps more surprisingly, one in five teen girls and one in four teen boys who had had sex said they would be pleased if they or their partner got pregnant. “This is really quite alarming,” Albert said. “I don’t think it takes a Ph.D. to understand that in this day and age and in this economy the route to success doesn’t begin with a family at age 16.”

Another expert noted that sex education is key. “With nearly half of all teenagers stating that they are sexually active, we cannot afford to keep our heads in the sand about ensuring that our young people have access to comprehensive sex education,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “While it’s encouraging to hear that a majority of them are using some form of birth control, many of the attitudes revealed in this report tell us that there is plenty of room for more comprehensive sex education that includes information about abstinence, contraception, healthy relationships, and responsible decision-making.”

The study, which analyzed data from the 2006-2008 National Survey of Family Growth, also found that about one-quarter of female teens and 29 percent of males reported two or more sexual partners, the same as 2002. Females who started having sex when they were younger were more likely to accumulate more partners.

While most teens had not had intercourse in the month before being asked about this (76 percent of females and 79 percent of males, the same as 2002), 12 percent of females and 10 percent of males reported having sex in the prior month.

The majority of teens had used some form of contraception during their first intercourse: 79 percent of females and 87 percent of males. And condom use is on the rise. As in 2002, it ranked as the most common form of birth control and was used at least once by 95 percent of teens. The next favored form of birth control was withdrawal (58 percent), then the pill (55 percent). Seventeen percent of teens said they had used the rhythm method, as compared to 11 percent in 2002. “Contraceptive use has not changed since 2002 with a few important exceptions,” said Abma. “Males use more condoms frequently during their first sex and combination methods more frequently.”

Seventy-one percent of female teens in 2006-2008 “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that “it is OK for an unmarried female to have a child,” about the same proportion as 2002. But now 64 percent of males agreed with the statement, up from 50 percent in 2002. Fourteen percent of females and 18 percent of males interviewed said they would be “a little pleased” or “very pleased” if they or their partner got pregnant. On the flip side, 58 percent of never-married female teens and 47 percent of males said they would be “very upset” if this happened, pointing to the importance of motivation in not getting pregnant.

“When we talk about teen pregnancies and unplanned pregnancies more generally, people tend to focus on the important issues of cost and access [to birth control],” said Albert. “These are two critically important issues but I think that we often overlook this great ambivalence that many people have about when and under what circumstances to start families. Clearly, if you put a condom in everyone’s hands they are not going to use them if they’re ambivalent about getting pregnant. Cost and access are absolutely critical but so is motivation.”

Whirlpool/Maytag recalls dishwashers due to fire hazard

I normally start off with “awesome!” in these cases, but I’d rather get the word out to any of my readers who have such appliances.

Whirlpool Corp.’s Maytag unit is recalling about 1.7 million dishwashers because of a fire hazard. The Consumer Product Safety Commission, which announced the recall Thursday, says the company, part of Whirlpool Corp., has received 12 reports of electrical failures in the dishwasher heating element that led to fires and damage.

One kitchen fire caused extensive damage, the agency said. No injuries have been reported.

The recall includes Maytag, Amana, Jenn-Air, Admiral, Magic Chef, Performa by Maytag and Crosley brand dishwashers with plastic tubs. The recalled dishwashers were made with black, bisque, white, silver and stainless steel front panels and sold at department and appliance stores nationwide from February 2006 through April 2010. They cost between $250 and $900.

CPSC advises consumers to immediately stop using the recalled dishwashers and disconnect the electric supply by shutting off the fuse or circuit breaker controlling it. Consumers can schedule a free in-home repair or receive a rebate of $150 or $250 toward the purchase of select new Maytag dishwashers. The amount of the rebate depends on the type of model to be purchased.

A company spokeswoman says Whirlpool set aside $75 million to cover the costs of the recall. More information on the numerous serial numbers involved in the recall can be found at the company’s website or the website for the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The recall is Maytag’s second of more than a million major appliances in a little more than a year. It recalled 1.6 million refrigerators because of fire risks in March 2009.

Whirlpool, based in Benton Harbor, Mich., bought Maytag in March 2006 in a $1.8 billion deal.