In the “Price Is Right” game of politics, Obama is the Cliff Hanger’s yodeling mountain climber, and he’s about to reach the peak. According to recent polls, President Obama’s numbers are nudging ever-upward, tying him with Republican demi-god Ronald Reagan. Many of the polls show Obama at nearly a 50 percent approval rating at this stage of his presidency, and that is on the heels of what’s proven to be a rocky 2014.
Politico’s Lucy McCalmont writes:
For Obama, it’s the latest in a number of recent polls that have been favorable for the president. Earlier this week, a CNN/ORC poll gave Obama a 48 percent approval rating — his highest since May 2013. And the president’s high approval ratings come amidst a growing confidence among Americans in the expanding economy, with growing jobs numbers to match.
In addition, Obama’s approval rating has climbed to 48 percent, according to Boston’s National Public Radio affiliate WBUR. WBUR, in turn, cited the Rasmussen Reports in their own reporting, which if anything, is a polling firm more often than not accused of conservative favoritism. Speculation as to Obama’s success by WBUR largely circles the health of the economy and stock market.
One aspect of the poll results WBUR did not mention, however, is the 51 percent disapproval of Obama as found by Rasmussen, but that’s still far better than only a few months ago, when Gallup polls showed Obama only had a 38 percent approval rating. The president was only a couple of percentage points better by the Nov. election, too. Consequently, seeing the President’s yodel reach such high peaks as 50 percent is a hell of an improvement.
That’s 10 percentage points in a little under two months! — two points higher than the average for his entire presidency, which has hovered right around 48 percent.
Comparatively, according to Gallup polls, George W. Bush was at 37 percent at this same point in his presidency. Bush’s low numbers were topped only by Harry Truman, who pulled in a mere 33 percent approval rating in the Dec. of 1950. Lyndon B. Johnson fell to 44 percent after numerous setbacks in 1966, and the trickle-down Gipper only ascended to 48 percent in 1986.
Two presidents who rose to even higher heights than Obama are Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower at 57 percent and Bill Clinton at a whopping 67 percent, even amidst possible impeachment! Ponder that conundrum over a nice cigar, why don’t you.
While the health of the economy does seem to be one of the most likely reasons for a president’s high approval rating, others believe it is more than likely due to his (someday her) policies undertaken while in office. As the “Huffington Post” wrote:
Bush was struggling in Iraq. Eisenhower was more popular than his party in 1958 as the result of strategic political choices and personal charm. Johnson was beset by Vietnam and domestic strife. Truman had Korean and indications it would not be a short war. Reagan was dealing with the Iran-Contra Scandal.
And yet, Obama’s numbers rise to their current heights in spite of his presidency inheriting so many enormous problems and issues from the Bush administration, only to be followed by crisis after crisis.
Further testament to the president are our current gas prices and renewed relations with longtime enemy, Cuba. The president has also shown that he backs the people on race relations, at least as far as lip service goes, which is still a lot more than most any other politician of his stature has done. He’s also taken strong steps toward immigration reform and pretends to stand against torture.
All in all, the muddy milieu between Obama’s words, intentions and actions have helped him climb out of the valley to glimpse some of the highest peaks of his presidency, and it seems a strong percentage of the country approves.