There’s been a lot of talk about President Barack Obama’s approval ratings, as they’ve hovered around the low 40s during his sixth year in office. A recent poll by Quinnipiac University had respondents identifying Obama as the worst U.S. president since World War II, and Gallup’s poll gave the president a 42 percent approval rating for the month of June. However, the research firm sought to give context to the ratings, saying, “Obama’s current performance is certainly not as bad as it could be.”
The dissatisfaction with Obama is not as intense as that with Congress. A recent Gallup poll showed only 7 percent of Americans saying they had a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in Congress — a historic low. And while Quinnipiac’s poll showed that 33 percent of American voters rated Obama as the worst president since 1945, the poll has seen some backlash for how easily it played into partisan differences. Being multiple choice, it favored Republicans, who were more likely united behind Reagan, while Democrats are more divided on ranking Democratic presidents.
Gallup noted that there have only been five presidents since WWII who were elected and served on through their sixth year: Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, and George W. Bush. Gallup reported that Eisenhower, Reagan, and Clinton were seen more favorably than Obama is at this point in their terms. Clinton’s approval ratings were still at 60 percent in June 1998, despite public discussion of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.