A Reflective Christian

All for God’s Kingdom

Obama’s slippage in approval rating

At the celebration of many conservatives and the bemoaning of many liberals, Obama’s approval rating by most of the different polls have reaching about 50%. But what is even more disturbing for Obama is that there are many more people passionately against him than for him, as Rasumussen’s daily tracking poll illustrates. His presidency could also be one of the quickest adminstrations to fall below 50% approval rating, which is interesting in light of the fact that he had the second highest initial approval rating after World War II  (see here and here). To tack on even more good or bad news (depending on your politics), the Republicans have a 5 point lead in a Generic Congressional Ballot.

So all is lost for the Democrats, the Republicans will gain a significant portion of seats in 2010, and Obama will become a lame duck president. Right? Not necessarily so.

Just from a quick and dirty analysis of the chart those who strongly disapprove and those who strongly approve, it seems Obama has reached the bottom of the current downward trend and things seem to be leveling out. This chart as time passes could take on the form of a parabola and move upward in favor of Obama. Of course, this could also be a temporary halting point before a further downward trend.

But charts and graphical shapes do not determine the future, but people do.  One of the biggest factors in determining public opinions is the state of the economy. As people are slowly growing more confident, this will tend to favor the current party in power. Nothing brilliant there. However in my opinion, it will be a larger factor than in the past (for reasons I will refrain from giving at the moment, for the sake of brevity). Case in point, during the election race, McCain had taken a significant lead in the polls (at which point, I, embarssingly predicted a McCain victory) and there was talk about the Obama candidacy losing its mojo of sorts. However, once Goldman Sachs’ problems were reported on the news, the momentum suddenly shifted towards Obama’s direction, and McCain never posed a significant threat after that. The economy won the election for Obama and lost it for McCain after that point IMO, not any politicking.

As the perception of the economy looks to possibly improve (see this), Obama’s approval ratings will rise steadily. Furthermore, the current ratings are no doubt affected by one thing, medical care reform. However, the attention of Americans is focused upon recent events. If an administration is to ever attempt to enact extreme reforms (which the medical care and the energy bills are), the first and third year of the administration is the time to do it, so that if it backfires with the public, the passage of time can begin to fade the memories of that time and allow for present issues to dictate the polls more so.

Long story short, the current polls mean little to nothing as to what will happen in the 2010 elections, and even less for the 2012 election. Expect to see a more moderate Obama administration and Democratic party as the 2010 elections approach.

With all that said, Obama shares some interesting parallels with Jimmy Carter, which I will perhaps bring out in a future post. That does not bode well for Democratic control of the future. But a similarity in patterns does not dictate continuing conformity.


August 28, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | ,


  1. You’re right. As in every election, the economy will determine the outcome.

    Comment by Kurt | August 28, 2009

  2. I would not say the economy determines every election. The economy determines approval of the president and his party when it is on the public consciousness. It is in our consciousness when you have a dramatic change (either good or bad) in the economy. But you may have a have had a good or bad economy for a prolonged period, but as people adapt to their new circumstances, whether the economy is “good” or “bad” will become less of an issue. In which case, other issues will have greater importance.

    But in times of drastic economic change (I purposefully choose not to use instability, because it implies to much), the economy is a greater issue in the minds of Americans, as it is now, and thus plays a more pivotal role in political evaluations. But the longer we stay at thee current level, the less and less it will be an issue.

    Comment by Owen | August 29, 2009

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