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Obama's Favorability Rating at an All-Time Low

Obama's Favorability Rating at an All-Time Low

By Michael Cipriano - June 13, 2014

President Obama’s favorability rating has hit a record low in three new polls, with one finding him to be nearly as unpopular as George W. Bush.

A trio of polls conducted by Bloomberg, Gallup and CNN/ORC found that fewer Americans than ever have a favorable impression of the president. Despite Obama’s job approval ratings averaging no higher than 48 percent in each of his last four years in office, he had managed to maintain a positive image throughout his presidency.

Now, that has changed.

Gallup and CNN found that only 47 percent of respondents have a favorable opinion of Obama, while 52 and 51 percent, respectively, have an unfavorable opinion. Gallup’s net negative of minus-five for the president is the largest margin of his presidency.

Bloomberg found just 44 percent of respondents had positive feelings about the president.

What’s more, CNN found Obama to be almost as unpopular as his predecessor. The poll found the 43rd president’s favorable rating to be 46 percent, one tick below that of Obama. The gap between the two men has closed significantly since Obama’s inauguration in January 2009, when nearly eight in 10 people had a favorable impression of him, compared to just 35 percent for Bush.

"This marks the first time in a CNN poll that a majority of Americans have an unfavorable view of Obama," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "And, at 51 percent, his unfavorable is higher than his favorables for the first time as well."

Controversies have certainly hurt Obama’s image in recent weeks, including the scandal at the Veterans Affairs Department -- where an internal review found that a number of VA medical facilities have manipulated wait-time records for veterans seeking care appointments -- and the prisoner exchange involving five Taliban detainees and American POW Bowe Bergdahl.

The latter, which the administration expected would provide a “feel good” moment for the country, came under scrutiny when the sergeant’s fellow soldiers accused him of being a deserter. A recent Rasmussen poll found that more than half of Americans disagreed with the swap.

Gallup reports three previous instances where the president’s unfavorable rating exceeded his favorable rating. One was in October 2010 as midterm elections approached; the other two occurred in late 2013 with the flawed launch of the HealthCare.gov website.

Obama’s slippage mirrors that of several other presidents who served since World War II and also won a second term. Gallup found that Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bush all saw their approval ratings fall during their second terms.

Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were the only postwar presidents to experience a rise in their job approval in their second terms.

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Michael Cipriano

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