President Obama is More Popular Now than During His First Term

Last updated on February 7th, 2013 at 04:29 pm

american-flag-obamaYou’d think with all the vitriol from the right that Obama was the second coming of Satan, the least popular president in all of U.S. history, an usurper, not the recipient of two landslide mandates from the American people.

Instead, we find out that more Americans self-identify today as Democrats than as Republicans.

And not only that, but a president who is, despite all these attacks, is increasingly popular. Gallup reports that Obama’s current approval rating is 56 percent – or seven points higher thanthe average of his monthly approval ratings (49%) for the first 48 months of his administration, between January 2009 and December 2012.”

Read that again. Higher than the first 48 months of his administration.

Yet the Republicans insist it is they, not Obama, who won a mandate from the American people in 2013. Obama is more popular than ever, and they are more popular than – meth labs and perpetual petty criminal Lindsey Lohan.

And consider this: “Five of the seven U.S. presidents re-elected since World War II had lower average job approval ratings in their second than in their first term.”

But President Obama is more popular now than he was from 2009 to 2012.

Only two presidents since World War II – out of the seven that have had second terms – have had higher approval ratings their second term. Those presidents would be Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

Numbers don’t lie:

Presidential Approval Ratings

Reagan and Clinton both average 50 percent approval their first terms, and as Gallup points out, both boosted the economy their second term, leading to a 55 percent approval rating by Reagan and an astounding 61 percent by Clinton.

And no man in recent history besides Obama has been more vilified by Republicans than Bill Clinton.

It is an inescapable conclusion that the one thing Republicans can’t forgive in a Democrat is success. It violates every precept of their political philosophy, after all, that only Republican governance is legitimate, while Democrats must inevitably be usurpers.

Let’s look at some congressional approval ratings, which is trending in the exact opposite of President Obama:

Popularity of Congress

Whether President Obama will fall victim to the “second term curse” remains to be seen. The Republicans are certainly doing everything in their power – again- to see that he fails. Rather than participating in government, the Republicans have withdrawn from it, and from their responsibilities not only as citizens but as elected officials.

While refusing to do their jobs and govern the nation, Republicans accuse Obama of treason, and demand that he be impeached or imprisoned for doing the job they refuse to do.

And Obama just gets more popular as a result. Another conclusion: the American people recognize and admire effort. They admire a man who steps up and acts like a man, rather than as a whiny, tantrum-throwing child.

An interesting contrast is that of Obama to his predecessor, George W. Bush,  who was the recipient, says Gallup, of the “greatest drop in average approval rating between terms.” Bush’s first term rating was 25 points higher than his second term rating, which bottomed out at a staggering 37 percent. President Nixon may have been less popular his second term (34 percent) but he was never as popular in the first place and so had less far to drop.

President Nixon, a Republican, presided over Watergate. President Bush presided over the collapse of the American economy and two highly unpopular wars. Nixon had the good sense to resign. Bush just withdrew into a bunker mentality, content to oversea and plundering by his cronies of Iraq and America both.

President Obama inherited the economy Bush and the Republican destroyed. Obama has been impeded in every effort to restore the economy – by those selfsame Republicans – and the American people have noticed, as polls demonstrate. It is almost a certainty that Obama’s approval will continue to rise as the economy improves, while Congress remains less popular than lice.

It is easy to see why the Republican message isn’t working. They think they need more charisma, smoother operators to spread their gospel, but what they don’t realize is that their gospel sucks, and the American people have noticed. As I said the other day, there is no way to make “fuck you” sound good, and no two words better describe the GOP’s policies

Obama got us out of Iraq. He is getting us out of Afghanistan. Obama promises peace for the next four years; the Republicans promise yet another war – with Iran.

Under Obama, the economy is improving, if slowly. The Republicans promise us a return to the Bush policies that tanked the economy in the first place. But they think if they smile this time we will say, “yes, please.” It won’t work. The American people say, “no, thank you,” on Election Day, and as these poll numbers demonstrate, they continue to say no.

Obama offers progress in the form of Marriage Equality and Women’s Reproductive Rights. The Republicans counter with sexual repression. Obama champions voting rights; the Republicans counter with voter repression. Obama promises us access to affordable healthcare; the Republicans sentence us to death. Obama offers us alternatives to fossil fuels; the Republicans offer us undrinkable water and unbreathable air. Obama promises immigrants a chance at the American dream; the Republicans offer Sheriff Arpaio and internment camps. Obama promises that everyone will pay their fair share in taxes; the Republicans promise that we will all work as economic slaves to the rich so that we can fill not the American economy with wealth, but their offshore bank accounts.

It is not difficult to see what Republicans hate about our prospects as a nation, that Obama might actually succeed. That through him, the supposed illegitimacy of liberalism will be proven legitimate. That America, as it always has, will prosper economically under liberal governance, the GDP growing 2.8 percent under Democrats and only 1.6 percent under Republicans, over a sixty-year span from 1948 to 2007. Though they deny it, even rich people have done better under Democratic administrations, leading to another inescapable conclusion: that America’s prosperity is in indirect proportion to the gap between the rich and the poor.

And one does not have to be Nostradamus to recognize that if Obama ends his second term with a higher approval rating than his first, it will have been entirely on his own merits and abilities, because he will have had no help from the U.S. House of Representatives, or of Republican governors, or Republican-controlled state legislatures.

If America is better off in 2016 than in 2008, it will be entirely due to President Obama and the liberals and progressives who have worked with him to make things better for the American people. It will be Obama’s victory, liberalism’s victory, and America – and the world – will know it. And Election Day 2016 - when a Democrat wins the White House for a third consecutive term - will go down in conservative history as a day that will live in infamy, while Obama goes down in history as one of our greatest presidents.

Hrafnkell Haraldsson

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