Obama Approval Ratings Deeply Polarized
Republicans have turned overwhelmingly against President Obama, while Democrats are still largely supportive -- leading to the most polarized approval ratings ever recorded during a president's first year in office, a new report by Gallup finds.
Over the course of this past year, Obama has averaged a job approval rating of 88 percent among Democrats and just 23 percent among Republicans, according to the study released on Monday morning. That year-one 65-point margin is the largest that the public opinion research firm has ever recorded.
At the end of his first year, former President Bill Clinton averaged a smaller 52-point gap -- not because Republicans liked him any more than they like Obama, but because Democrats didn't like him as much. President George W. Bush averaged a 45-point gap; during his first year, he had almost universal support from Republicans, while nearly half of Democrats were still giving him the benefit of the doubt.
Looking at the data going further back in history, it's evident that the country has grown far more polarized since the age of Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson.
At the same time, to the extent that Obama pledged to end the partisan rancor in Washington, he clearly has not succeeded. But much of that stems from the calculation among Republicans that opposition to (if not demonization of) Obama presents the quickest path back to power. GOP favorability of the president went from 41 percent when he took office to 18 percent today.
Another factor in Obama's dwindling Republican numbers is the dwindling number of people - particularly moderates -- who identify themselves as members of the Republican Party. In a recent Pew poll on the same topic, only 24 percent of respondents identified themselves as Republicans, down nine percentage points from 2004.