It’s been a slow, steady decline but President Barack Obama’s job approval rating has finally dipped below Jimmy Carter’s, earning Obama the worst approval rating of any president at this stage of his term in modern history.
Gallup’s daily presidential job approval index put the current president’s job approval rating at 43 percent compared to Carter’s 51 percent.
Back in 1979, Carter was far below Obama until the Iran hostage crisis, eerily being duplicated in Tehran today with Iranian protesters storming the British embassy. The early days of the crisis helped Carter’s ratings, though his failure to win the release of captured Americans, coupled with a bad economy, led to his defeat by Ronald Reagan in 1980.
According to Gallup, here are the job approval numbers for other presidents at this stage of their terms, a year before the re-election campaign:
— Harry S. Truman: 54 percent.
— Dwight Eisenhower: 78 percent.
— Lyndon B. Johnson: 44 percent.
— Richard M. Nixon: 50 percent.
— Ronald Reagan: 54 percent.
— George H.W. Bush: 52 percent.
— Bill Clinton: 51 percent.
— George W. Bush: 55 percent.
To make matters worse, Gallup reports that Obama’s overall job approval rating ranks among the worst in American political history, averaging 49 percent. Only three former presidents have had a worse average rating at this stage: Carter, Ford, and Harry S. Truman.
It might also be worth noting that no president in history, save the unpopular Truman, won re-election with such ratings. And, as U.S. News points out, Truman did so by running an anti-Congress campaign that Obama’s team is using as a model.