President Obama just joined an exclusive club.
He is one of only five presidents to see the Dow Jones Industrial Average gain 50 percent or more through his first three years in office, according to a report from Bespoke Investment Group. Obama, who has overseen a 60 percent gain in the Dow since taking office, joins two Democrats, Bill Clinton and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and two Republicans, Calvin Coolidge and Dwight D. Eisenhower in the club.
Republican presidential candidates and other critics have derided Obama for not doing enough to help businesses during his tenure. But the evidence may prove otherwise. As of early November, Wall Street firms had earned more under Obama than during all eight years of George W. Bush's presidency, even as he's slammed bankers as "fat cats."
Still, one reason Obama may have seen such large gains during his tenure may be because he took over shortly after a particularly rough period for the stock market. After Congress initially rejected the government’s $700 billion bank bailout program, the Dow saw what at the time was its largest single-day loss ever on September 29, 2008. Obama took office on less than four months later.
Obama has overseen some market volatility of his own over the course of his presidency. The stock market experienced violent swings last August as Standard and Poor's downgraded the United States' credit rating after officials agreed to raise the nation's debt limit at the last minute. The debt crisis brewing in Europe also contributed to stock market volatility.
Though the last three-odd years have seen good gains on the stock market so far, it may have little bearing on whether he gets reelected if past presidential elections are any indication. The opposite has also proven true in the past. After the infamous Black Monday stock market crash in October 1987 in which the Dow Jones lost almost 23 percent of its value, then-President Ronald Reagan saw his approval rating actually jump two points, according to Gallup data cited by The New York Times.