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Approval Rating Rollercoaster
October 8, 2011 7:35 PM   Subscribe

You would be hard pressed to find an article about Obama that didn't mention approval ratings. Ditto during Bush's presidency. This interactive graph lets you compare approval ratings over time for presidents since Truman (article itself is dated but the chart is current). This graph offers less interactivity but adds some historical points of context.
posted by Defenestrator (15 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
And ditto, I'm assuming, even before Bush, although I was too young to care.
posted by Defenestrator at 7:37 PM on October 8, 2011


quite interesting. I imagine another problem with approval ratings is that the President is often credited with and blamed for things he had no control over.
posted by 2manyusernames at 7:39 PM on October 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like RCP's zoomable "poll of polls" (though it's dragged down significantly by the omnipresent Rasmussen polls, the influence of which you can see by doing a before-and-after comparison on the TPM polltracker).

RCP also shows a number of distinct hitches in recent months that don't show up in less granular timelines -- the jump after the Arizona shootings, the huge spike after the killing of Osama bin Laden, the rapid drop-off (coinciding, it looks like, with the Weiner scandal), and the steady erosion from there during the dismal economic news.
posted by Rhaomi at 7:43 PM on October 8, 2011


Interesting that only Clinton has approval ratings that trend upward.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 7:45 PM on October 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm afraid you must reverse the arrow of time before using this data for RollerCoaster Tycoon. Eisenhower and Reagan kept their approvals fairly flat, but only Clinton showed a positive trend.

There is also substantial evidence for al-Qaeda's de facto victory in the war on terror here too : Bush has the steepest downward slope ever, except for the massive Sept. 11th bump.

We ultimately squished al-Qaeda however by cleverly revealing all our secret diplomatic cables right when food prices were highest, thus showing the Arab world that we weren't actually as bad as their own leaders and we didn't really care if they overthrew their leaders. Risky gamble that one, even cost our Italian friends their man in Libya, but it successfully smothered Islamism as desired.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:49 PM on October 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh, there are rollercosters that begin using an elevator, I suppose.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:51 PM on October 8, 2011


Just noticed the USA Today has some historical points along that bottom gray bar above the dates. Didn't see that earlier.
posted by Defenestrator at 7:54 PM on October 8, 2011


Interesting that only Clinton has approval ratings that trend upward.

Overlay his with Dubya's and they make a nice, neat X.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:55 PM on October 8, 2011


I was surprised at how closely Obama's approval ratings track both Clinton and Reagan so far.
posted by wierdo at 7:59 PM on October 8, 2011


There are some other caveats : Truman technically falls just as far as Shrub if you count the whole end of WWII thing, but really that fall happens overnight, while Bush maintains a steep decline over years. Reagan technically closes out above his starting approval too, but presumably that's either Bush I's campaigning or "sympathy for the old retard". I donno how Bush I kept his so high for so long.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:00 PM on October 8, 2011


I donno how Bush I kept his so high for so long.

Two words - Dan Quayle.

That guy was such a doofus any non-moron near him looked like Einstein in comparison.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:09 PM on October 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


kuujjuarapik: “Interesting that only Clinton has approval ratings that trend upward.”

Indeed; in fact, the interesting part is that Clinton's approval really spiked – and never went down afterward – during the scandal and ensuing impeachment.
posted by koeselitz at 8:18 PM on October 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


koeselitz wrote: kuujjuarapik: “Interesting that only Clinton has approval ratings that trend upward.”

Indeed; in fact, the interesting part is that Clinton's approval really spiked – and never went down afterward – during the scandal and ensuing impeachment


I believe there was a strong correlation between Newt Gingrich talking and Clinton's approval rating rising.
posted by wierdo at 8:43 PM on October 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Needs more cowbell Bull Moose (and soon)
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 8:46 PM on October 8, 2011


I donno how Bush I kept his so high for so long.

Two words - Dan Quayle.

That guy was such a doofus any non-moron near him looked like Einstein in comparison.


Pogo_Fuzzybutt gives yet another testimonial to the superb PR performance by Vice President Quayle. He came onboard to support a campaigning VP who was hobbled by one huge problem: GHW Bush had spent 7 years playing the fool in Reagan's court, expressly to distract from the Gipper's increasingly frequent gaffs, memory gaps, and lack of control.

Now BP Bush had to turn his image around overnight; in essence he had to turn his image inside-out.

Enter the Fool. Someone beside which "any non-moron near him looked like Einstein in comparison". Now, Bush was no fool, except as it suited his career as VP: he had headed the CIA. Not a place to stash the town idiot for safekeeping.

So, Quayle eggregiously overacts his part. "So glad to be here in Latin America, and it's lucky I learned Latin!" Quayle wasn't that stupid. But he needed to appear to be. And he succeeded. The lazy, hungry press ate up every linguistic pratfall he laid out for them.

Make no mistake: once The Press determines a narrative (Bush Quayle is a fool. Obama is a uniter. Candidate Hilary is a bitch.), every journalist out there knows the short path to an attribution is a photo or story angle that supports that narrative.
posted by IAmBroom at 3:12 PM on October 9, 2011


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