Per Telegraph UK, we learn that “Obama’s popularity is the lowest of any American president at the end of his first year in office since polling began” — and that this is a sign of “buyer’s remorse.” Apparently, the reasoning goes, we should’ve elected Hillary, whose ratings are soaring.
This descriptor is more than a little misleading, because no modern president since FDR has faced the problems which the previous administration bequeathed to President Obama. An honest comparison would include a look at FDR’s first-term numbers.
That, however, is impossible. Gallup began operations (under a different name) in 1935, and its first recorded presidential polls occurred in 1937, rating President Roosevelt’s handling of the Great Depression. It was… not good. Even if he never dropped below the magic number (50), in ’37, still a fairly bad point in the Depression, FDR flirted with the number repeatedly. Although we lack data, it’s easy to imagine he would’ve gone below 50% in the early years of his presidency — say, by the end of his first year, in December of 1933. Without this data point, apocalyptic “never before”-type evaluations of Obama’s approval are pure speculation.
Further, with utmost respect to Secretary Clinton (who I feel would in fact be a good president, in 2016), a secretary of state’s approval ratings are not the most accurate reflectors of how the individual would perform as president. If this fact isn’t immediately clear to you, I don’t know if I can help.
We should worry about polls. But we should worry more about fixing the current recession. When that shapes up, as it appears to be doing, his poll numbers will drift towards a more accurate evaluation of his actual messaging. Pray that happens before November.