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.”