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February 17, 2010


Well Bush had been only in office for 7 months. 58% either approved or would give him a chance. Obama is at a different point in his presidency, and only 48% will give him a chance.


Not sure why you say the results for the Bush poll are "worse" than the Obama poll.

First, 50%/52% approve/no-reelection numbers are significantly worse than 32/42%, esp. given Obama's extremely high ratings at the beginning of his presidency. I doubt Bush's were anywhere near as high as Obama’s early in his term given the rancor of the 2000 election.

(I would suspect the 40% "better off with someone else" for Bush was historically high for early in any president's term and more a reflection of the disputed election results than anything else.)

Yes the Obama numbers are much closer - essentially the same given poll margins of error, but to say Bush's are worse just because the two results diverge a bit more seems weird to me.

MartyB -- you omitted a key phrase: "relative to the 55% approval/32% disapproval numbers the Fox poll showed for Bush." Obviously Obama's standing is worse overall.

I'm no expert on political polls, but I believe it's the case that incumbants find it very difficult to win over those opposed. In that sense, 52% opposed is considerably worse than 42% opposed, even though Obama had 8 percentage points higher in the "for" category. In particular, a majority opposed normally makes re-election quite an uphill battle. Of course, there's a lot of time, so I wouldn't write off Obama's re-election yet.

It's valuable exercise to note where Obama and Bush both were at the end of their first years as President. However as Mr. Silver pointed out last month there is no historical correlation between a President's popularity at the end of his first year and his popularity at the onset of the reelection cycle.


I think this is especially interesting now when political popularity seems to be especially volatile.

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