Sunday, January 25, 2009

Poll shows high early approval rating for Obama

More than two-thirds of Americans approve of President Obama's job performance during his initial days in the White House, an approval rating that significantly exceeds the early poll numbers of his two immediate predecessors.

The new survey by Gallup — the first conducted entirely after Obama took the oath of office Tuesday — found 68 percent of Americans approve of how the new president is handling the job. Meanwhile, only 12 percent of Americans disapprove of Obama's job performance so far.

It's not unusual for new presidents to enter the White House with a high approval rating, but Obama's is markedly higher than the initial approval number of both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Obama is enjoying a high initial approval rating.

Obama is enjoying a high initial approval rating.

According to Gallup, Bush began his initial days as president with a 57 percent approval rating while Bill Clinton kicked off his first term with a 58 percent rating.

Meanwhile, Clinton faced an initial disapproval rating of 20 percent while Bush — who had only secured the presidency after a protracted and divisive recount in Florida — faced an initial disapproval rating of 25 percent.

But the percentage of Americans who approve of Obama's first days in office isn't unprecedented. John F. Kennedy began his term with a 72 percent approval rating while Jimmy Carter and Dwight Eisenhower had early approvals in the high sixties.

While it's unclear how Obama's approval ratings will change in the initial months of his presidency, history suggests they will likely go up. Of the last eight presidents, six saw their approval numbers increase during the first 100 days of their presidency.

The Gallup poll surveyed 1,591 adults from Wednesday-Friday and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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