President Barack Obama should not take a recent uptick in his Gallup polling approval numbers as encouragement for a second term, The New York Times' FiveThirtyEight
electoral blog reports. A president's approval ratings right after a midterm election are a historically poor predictor of his re-election chances.
"Ronald Reagan was tied with Gerald Ford for having the lowest [Gallup approval rating] — 37 percent — and he won in a blowout," FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver writes. "Bill Clinton’s approval rating was 47 percent, and he won. George H.W. Bush’s was 58 percent, but he lost. His son George W. had a 63 percent approval rating and won, but only barely."
The correlation between Gallup ratings and re-election odds increases, however, by the end of a president's third year in office.
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