Obama Approval Rating Falls to Lowest Level
WASHINGTON - A new USA TODAY-Gallup Poll out Monday shows President Barack Obama's job approval rating is at its narrowest margin of the year.
When he was inaugurated in January, Obama scored a job approval rating of 64 percent approve to 25 percent disapprove in the USA TODAY-Gallup Poll - a net positive rating by a formidable 39 percentage points.
As the year comes to a close, he's still in positive territory, but not by much. The latest survey, taken Friday through Sunday, puts the president's approval at 49 percent to 46 percent. That is Obama's narrowest margin of the year, with his approval matching his low point in early October and his disapproval matching his high point later that month.
In comparison to the approval ratings for modern elected presidents in December of their first year in office, Obama's standing is the worst, though he's close to Ronald Reagan. In December 1981, Reagan's approval rating was also 49 percent, though his disapprove rating was a bit lower, 41 percent.
Gallup Poll ratings for the others: George W. Bush was at 86 percent, in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks; John Kennedy at 77 percent, the elder George Bush at 71 percent, Dwight Eisenhower at 69 percent Richard Nixon at 59 percent, Jimmy Carter at 57 percent and Bill Clinton at 54 percent.
Obama continues to have a higher favorable rating than job approval, a sign that some of those who don't like his policies as president still think highly of him as a person. Among those surveyed, 56 percent had a favorable opinion of him; 42 percent an unfavorable one.
And Sarah Palin?
The nationwide tour promoting her best-selling book, "Going Rogue," seems to have helped boost her image, although she still has a way to go. Now, 44 percent have a favorable opinion of the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee. Forty-seven percent have an unfavorable view.
In October, her favorable rating was 40 percent to 50 percent.
The poll of 1,025 adults, taken by landline and cell phone, has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.