President Barack Obama's approval rating falls below that of three out of four of America's last two-term presidents at a similar point in their administrations.
A new Gallup Poll
shows that Obama, whose average approval rating in December reveals that just under 43 percent of Americans approve of his job performance, still places him above only George W. Bush in the same period in their second term.
Meanwhile, a CNN/ORC poll
finds that Obama's approval rating is up to 48 percent, a 20-month high point for him, and the highest since May of last year, citing recent increases in the economy, the stock market's record performance and Obama's actions on Cuba and immigration as likely causes.
Obama's gains are due to increased support among women, independents and millennials, whereas among men, Republicans and those between 35-49, his approval dropped, the CNN/ORC poll found.
The Gallup poll found that Obama's approval rating falls below three other two-term presidents during the sixth year of their two terms, with President Bill Clinton at 67 percent, President Ronald Reagan at 48 percent (a tie in the CNN/ORC poll) and President Dwight Eisenhower at 57 percent.
Only President George W. Bush's approval rating falls below Obama's at a similar point in his second term, with 37 percent approval.
Gallup noted that Clinton achieved his high approval rating in spite of impeachment proceedings over the Monica Lewinsky scandal during his sixth year, when his popularity actually increased. Reagan was under fire in the Iran Contra scandal and Eisenhower's rating was actually a drop from a high of around 70 percent earlier in his terms.
Obama's highest weekly average in approval poll ratings came in 2009 when his approval soared to 67 percent, while his lowest average in 2014 has hovered at around the 40 percent mark and, Gallup notes, is unlikely to improve.
"Given that Obama's ratings over this year have been very stable, the default would be to expect to see his ratings continue in the 40% range going forward. But that's simply a default based on current performance and by no means a prediction," Gallup notes.
notes that Obama's slightly higher approval rating in the current poll may be caused by his action to ease sanctions against Cuba, improvements in the economy and his stance on the Ferguson riots.
The website also speculates that Obama's recent appearance on the "Colbert Report" may have increased his approval ratings, due to the "Colbert Bump" in approval noted among other politicians who have appeared on the show.
Gallup commented, "In short, we have a portrait this year of a public whose evaluation of the president has become immune to substantial ups and downs — a public whose opinions of the president have settled into a pretty stable low-40% range."
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