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Polls: Obama’s approval holds around 50%, higher than Reagan’s 45% in May ‘82

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Obama’s 50 percent approval average among all Americans for the week ending May 9 continues an extended run of stable ratings for him. Since mid-November, Obama’s approval ratings have narrowly ranged between 47 percent and 51 percent …

Although his second-year ratings have been highly stable, he is on pace to follow most other presidents in seeing a significant drop from his first-year to his second-year average. Obama averaged 57 percent approval his first year in office — mainly because his job approval scores during the initial months of his presidency were in the 60 percent range — and has averaged 49 percent thus far in his second year.

By comparison, at this same point in Ronald Reagan’s presidency, May 1982, Reagan’s approval rating was 45 percent, according to Gallup. President Clinton’s equivalent rating, in May 1994, was 51 percent. (In May 2002, George W. Bush had a whopping 76 percent approval, which was an artifact from the “rally around the flag” effect of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. He went on to break all previous records for low approval ratings in his second term.)

A new survey from Public Policy Polling produced similar results:

For the first time since October a majority of Americans express approval of Barack Obama’s job performance on PPP’s monthly national poll. Fifty percent give him good marks to 46 percent who disapprove.

Obama’s numbers [among] Democrats are basically steady and he remains very popular within his own party at an 83 percent approval rating. The movement since last month has come with Republicans and independents. Although he remains very unpopular with GOP voters, the 14 percent who approve of him this month represent an improvement from 10 percent in April. Independents are almost evenly divided on how he’s doing with 46 percent giving him good marks and 47 percent poor ones. A month ago it was a 41/45 spread against him.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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