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The Obama presidency thus far

The Obama presidency thus far

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Americans greeted Barack Obama with high hopes early in his presidency, but his recent ratings reached low points in some December polls. The proportion that disapproves strongly of the way he is handling his job has doubled since Pew
first asked the question in early 2009. His early December approval rating among whites was 33 percent in the Pew poll. In
the ABC News/Washington Post poll taken in mid-December, it was 30 percent. The ABC/Post pollsters reported that the
President’s five-year average (51 percent) “is the lowest on record in ABC/Post and Gallup polls before them back to Harry S Truman, although similar to the five-year average of Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon (both 53 percent).”
Americans greeted Barack Obama with high hopes early in his presidency, but his recent ratings reached low points in some December polls. The proportion that disapproves strongly of the way he is handling his job has doubled since Pew
first asked the question in early 2009. His early December approval rating among whites was 33 percent in the Pew poll. In
the ABC News/Washington Post poll taken in mid-December, it was 30 percent. The ABC/Post pollsters reported that the
President’s five-year average (51 percent) “is the lowest on record in ABC/Post and Gallup polls before them back to Harry S Truman, although similar to the five-year average of Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon (both 53 percent).”

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Published by: American Enterprise Institute on Jan 14, 2014
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Political Repor
The Obama Presidency Thus Far
Americans greeted Barack Obama with high hopes early in his presidency, but his recent ratings reached low points in some December polls. The proportion that disapproves strongly of the way he is handling his job has doubled since Pew first asked the question in early 2009. His early December approval rating among whites was 33 percent in the Pew poll. In the ABC News/
Washington Post 
 poll taken in mid-December, it was 30 percent. The ABC/
Post 
 pollsters reported that the President’s five-year average (51 percent) “is the lowest on record in ABC/
Post 
 and Gallup polls before them back to Harry S Truman, although similar to the five-year average of Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon (both 53 percent).
Q: Do you . . . ?
 April 2009 December 2013
Approve very strongly 45% 26%Approve not so strongly 13 16Disapprove not so strongly 8 9Disapprove strongly 18 39
Approval among key subgroups, December 2013
Whites 33% Democrats 81%Blacks 89 Republicans 13Hispanics 59 Independents 37
Note: The December poll was conducted with
USA Today 
. Source: Pew Research Center, latest that of December 2013.
Volume 10, Issue 1 • January 2014
A M
ONTHLY
 P
OLL
 C
OMPILATION
1150 Seventeenth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036 202.862.5800 www.aei.org
10203040506070
     F    e     b   -     0     9     A    p    r   -     0     9     J    u    n   -     0     9     A    u    g   -     0     9      O    c     t   -     0     9     D    e    c   -     0     9     F    e     b   -     1     0     A    p    r   -     1     0     J    u    n   -     1     0     A    u    g   -     1     0      O    c     t   -     1     0     D    e    c   -     1     0     F    e     b   -     1     1     A    p    r   -     1     1     J    u    n   -     1     1     A    u    g   -     1     1      O    c     t   -     1     1     D    e    c   -     1     1     F    e     b   -     1     2     A    p    r   -     1     2     J    u    n   -     1     2     A    u    g   -     1     2      O    c     t   -     1     2     D    e    c   -     1     2     F    e     b   -     1     3     A    p    r   -     1     3     J    u    n   -     1     3     A    u    g   -     1     3      O    c     t   -     1     3     D    e    c   -     1     3
Approve of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as presidentDisapprove
64%17%49%45%
 
 
1150 Seventeenth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036 202.862.5800 www.aei.org
2
Q: Since the start of 2009 when Barack Obama became president, in general, would you say . . . ?
His presidency has been a success 46%A failure 48
Source: Pew Research Center/ 
USA Today,
 December 2013.
Q: Do you think that in general . . . ?
The Obama administration has been competent in running the government 43%Don’t think so 55
Note: Sample is registered voters. Source: Quinnipiac University, January 2014.
Q: Now thinking about events of the past couple months, do you feel that . . . ?
President Obama is facing a short-term setback from which things are likely to get better for him 33%He is facing a longer-term setback from which things are unlikely to get better for him 54He is not facing a setback at this time 10
Source: NBC News/ 
Wall Street Journal 
, December 2013.
Q: What are your expectations for Barack Obama’s presidency? Do you think he will be . . . ?
One of the country’s greatest presidents 6%A great president 16An average president 33A below average president 16One of the country’s worst presidents 28
Note: Sample is registered voters. In their December 2008 poll, 19 percent said he would be one of the greatest presidents and 43 percent a good president.Source: Fox News, December 2013.
Q: Do you think . . . ?
Barack Obama is a new kind of politician 44%A typical politician 50
Note: Sample is registered voters. In September 2009, 54 percent said he was a new kind and 39 percent a typical politician. Source: Fox News, December 2013.
AEI POLITICAL REPORT CONTRIBUTORSKarlyn Bowman
, Senior Fellow;
Norman Ornstein
, Resident Scholar;
Michael Barone
, Resident Fellow.Editor:
Jennifer Marsico
, Senior Research Associate; Intern:
Madeline Glista
.
 
1150 Seventeenth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036 202.862.5800 www.aei.org
3
Leadership Qualities
In this section of
Political Report 
, we review initial impressions of President Obama’s leadership and communication skills and compare them to views a year ago and in December. In Pew’s latest poll, half now say he is a strong leader, but almost as many, 48 percent, disagree. Forty-three percent say he is able to get things done, down from 57 percent a year ago. Three-quarters still say he stands up for what he believes in. Views on this aspect of his presidency have remained stable.
Q: As I read some pairs of opposite phrases, please tell me which one best reflects your impression of Barack Obama . . .
A strong leader Not a strong leader
February 2009 77% 13%January 2013 59 37December 2013 50 48
Note: The December poll was conducted with
USA Today 
. In a December 2013 Fox News poll of registered voters, 47 percent said he was a strong and decisive leader, while 51 percent said he was not. In a January 2014 Quinnipiac poll of registered voters, 46 percent said he had strong qualities of leadership, while 51 percent said he did not. Source: Pew Research Center, latest that of December 2013.
Not able to Able to get things done get things done
February 2009 70% 15%January 2013 57 37December 2013 43 51
Note: The December poll was conducted with
USA Today.
 Source: Pew Research Center, latest that of December 2013.
Stands up for what he believes in Does not
January 2011 77% 16%January 2013 82 14December 2013 76 19
Note: The December poll was conducted with
USA Today.
 Source: Pew Research Center, latest that of December 2013.
Not a good A good communicator communicator
February 2009 92% 6%January 2013 76 21December 2013 68 28
Note: The December poll was conducted with
USA Today.
 Source: Pew Research Center, latest that of December 2013.
Personal Qualities
Here again we show the public’s initial views about Obama’s personal qualities. We compare them to views as he began his second term and to impressions now. Around half still say the president is trustworthy, but his ratings have dropped sharply on this dimension. Fifty-eight percent today say he cares about people like them, compared to 81 percent who gave that response in February 2009.
Q: As I read some pairs of opposite phrases, please tell me which one best reflects your impression of Barack Obama . . .
Trustworthy Not trustworthy
February 2009 76% 15%January 2013 66 30December 2013 52 45
Note: The December poll was conducted with
USA Today 
. In a December 2013 Fox News poll of registered voters, 45 percent said that he was honest and trustworthy and 49 percent said he was not. In a January 2014 Quinnipiac poll of registered voters, 46 percent said he was honest and trustworthy and 49 percent said he was not. Source: Pew Research Center, latest that of December 2013.

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