According to Gallup, over the course of his hideous eight years, former-President Barack Obama (my four favorite words after Nude Live! Nude Live!), scored a job approval rating that averaged out to just 47.9%. In Gallup's polling history, which covers 12 presidents reaching all the way back to Harry Truman, Obama ranks a dismal 9th.
Only Truman (45.4%), Jimmy Carter (45.5%), and Gerald Ford (47.2%) averaged a worse approval rating, and not by much.
No less than Richard Nixon, a president who resigned in disgrace, beat Obama with an average job approval rating of 49%. The dreaded George W. Bush reached 49.4%. Everyone else is above 50%, with John Kennedy (70.1%) and Dwight Eisenhower (65%) enjoying the top two spots. You can see the full chart here.
Granted, Obama left office with a 58% approval rating, which puts him slightly ahead of Bill Clinton (57%), behind George H.W. Bush (62%) and well ahead of George W. Bush (40%). But overall, throughout his presidency, the country just wasn't all that into President SlowGrowth.
Why Obama left on a high note probably has to do with a mixture of nostalgia, the wonderfully nasty 2016 presidential election (which he mostly floated above), and his personal charisma.
People like Obama, even if his handling of the economy was the biggest failure in history.
When you audaciously pit Americans against one another along racial, economic, gender, and religious lines, you are not going to pop over 50%.
Other than his dismal economy, the reasons for Obama's near record low average approval rating are just as obvious. Obama was the most polarizing and divisive president in modern history. When you audaciously pit Americans against one another along racial, economic, gender, and religious lines, you are not going to pop over 50%.
The best example is race relations. Before the first black president took office, 68% of Americans believed race relations were very or somewhat good; that included 70% of whites and a majority, 64%, of blacks.
By July of last year -- after almost 8 years of Obama's war on police and the calculated race riots that followed -- 69% of Americans said race relations were bad, the highest level since the Rodney King riots.
Obama never wanted to be president of all the people. He remained a divisive community organizer throughout because he saw division as a way to grab and keep the power he so desired. And his popularity, or lack of it, reflects that.
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