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Obama Poll Watch -- March, 2015

[ Posted Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 – 15:44 PDT ]

Obama slips a bit

Barack Obama's job approval poll numbers slipped a bit in March, ending a streak of good news in polling for the president which reaches back to last September. But while the numbers turned slightly negative, the overall outlook for Obama was looking up by the end of the month. This means Obama has a better than even chance of gaining ground again in April. But before we get to predicting the future, let's first take a look at the chart of the recent past.

Obama Approval -- March 2015

[Click on graph to see larger-scale version.]

March, 2015

March blew in with the aftermath of the latest government shutdown drama playing out in Congress. Major political spats of this nature drag the public's perception of everyone in Washington down, of course, and Obama was not spared this time around. Foreign policy loomed large all month, as the prime minister of Israel successfully used the United States Congress as a campaign stop. Forty-seven senators sent a letter to Iran begging them not to give President Obama a political victory to add to his legacy. But neither Netanyahu's victory in Israeli elections nor the senators' pathetic attempt at undermining Obama's diplomacy stopped the negotiations with Iran, although no agreement was announced in March (this may affect Obama's numbers in April more noticeably, in other words). At the end of March, as well, a major victory against the Islamic State was announced, as Tikrit fell.

Back in domestic news, the month began with yet another good jobs/unemployment report, continuing a record string of positive news of the improving economy. Obamacare is chalking up more successes as well, with absolutely none of the doom predicted by its opponents having yet come to pass.

In political news, Hillary Clinton (and her emails) dominated the Democratic side, while Ted Cruz officially announced his candidacy as a Republican. Neither of these likely affected Obama's polling in any way, however.

I have to add a personal note here, and state that after the middle of the month (right around St. Patrick's Day, coincidentally), I have to admit that I wasn't paying very close attention to American politics (being on vacation, as I was), so if I've missed any significant events in the latter part of the month in this roundup, I apologize in advance.

By the numbers, Obama lost a half a point in his monthly job approval average, falling to 44.9 percent. His monthly average disapproval rate rose by 0.7 percent, to wind up at 50.8 percent. This essentially sets him back to where he was in January, erasing the minor gains he made in February. This setback wasn't a major one, but it did end a streak of improvement over the past six months for Obama. From September to February, Obama's job approval rose a total of 3.9 percent while his disapproval fell 3.4 percent. Still, even with the slight downturn in March, Obama's numbers are above where they were throughout all of 2014.

 

Overall Trends

The overall trend for Obama is actually looking upwards. Even though he slipped in the polling in March, what actually happened was the second half of a two-month cycle that began in February. At the end of January, Obama was riding fairly high, but then throughout February his numbers headed downwards. Just after the beginning of March, his numbers turned back upwards again, and this day-to-day trend continued for the rest of the month. To put this another way, February and March were mirrors of each other, one showing a month-long downward trend and the next showing the trend heading back up. Obama is positioned in good shape, entering April, to put this another way.

During March, Obama's numbers started bad and got better. His daily job approval average hit a low of 43.8 percent early in the month while his daily disapproval average rose to a high of 51.5 percent. By the end of the month, however, Obama's approval had improved to 46.0 percent while his disapproval fell to 49.8 percent. Both of those numbers are a point (or more) better than Obama's March monthly average, meaning the chances are pretty good that he'll see better numbers in April, barring any unforeseen downturns. If tomorrow's job numbers are good, and if the public approves of the deal with Iran, Obama could reap the benefit of more public approval. Also waiting in the wings is an upcoming announcement on overtime pay that is likely to be wildly popular when the public is made aware of it.

But I'd like to point something out here, looking at the bigger picture of how Obama compares to other presidents in the job approval ratings. For approximately two years, right around his re-election, Obama's chart lines matched up almost precisely with George W. Bush's. Beginning in January of 2014, however, Obama's numbers flattened out while Bush's continued to fall (comparing Bush's 2006 numbers). Bush did struggle back one last time, to where he almost matched Obama's approval rating, but then his numbers just fell off a cliff, ending up below 30 percent. Take a look at the comparison chart to easily see these trends.

Obama v. Bush -- March 2015

[Click on graph to see larger-scale version.]

So it's looking like Obama's trendlines are never going to be compared to George W. Bush's again. But there is one two-term president whose job approval numbers almost exactly match Obama's right now. Granted, the trendlines took very different paths to reach this point, but in the seventh year of his presidency (matching where Obama is now), Ronald Reagan's job approval stood at 45.0 percent, while Obama's now stands at 44.9 percent. See for yourself.

Obama v. Reagan -- March 2015

[Click on graph to see larger-scale version.]

That gigantic downward spike in Reagan's approval rating happened when he admitted to the nation that he had lied about the Iran/Contra scandal, and that members of his administration were indeed involved in illegality. Reagan's grandfatherly image took a severe blow after this admission, and didn't truly recover until he was headed out of office (I should mention that almost all presidents get a final upward spike in approval when they enter their lame-duck period, after the election to name their successor).

Now, I'm not stating that Obama is going to match Reagan's approval ratings for the next few years. To do so, Obama would actually have to improve to levels he hasn't been able to sustain since the first few years of his term. But it is possible, given the improving economy (which may not lift all boats but almost always lifts public perception of the sitting president). Obama could manage to hit the range from around 45 percent to the low 50s, where Reagan spent most of the final two years of his second term in office. So, again, I'm not saying this will happen, merely that it could possibly happen. And I'm not trying to shoehorn Obama into Reagan's legacy in any way, just pointing out that he is the only president comparable to where Obama now finds himself.

This isn't all that fair a comparison, though, since there are a limited number of presidents who served two terms after the advent of modern polling (it's impossible to compare Obama to Andrew Jackson or Thomas Jefferson, to put this another way). Counting those who were still in office at this point in their second terms, Obama is much higher than George W. Bush and Harry S Truman, but much lower than Bill Clinton and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Including Truman in that list is even somewhat problematic, for two reasons: he didn't serve a full two terms, and the polling back then was pretty sketchy and inconsistent. If you include partial-first-term presidents, there is one other who is an almost exact match for Obama right now (who matched Reagan's 45.0 percent at this point in his term): Lyndon B. Johnson. Here's the comparison chart of the two.

Obama v. Reagan -- March 2015

[Click on graph to see larger-scale version.]

Obama could match L.B.J.'s rather eclectic record for the remainder of his term, just as easily as he could match Reagan's, in other words. Again, I point this out not to make predictions, but simply to note some interesting convergences with past presidential trendlines. We'll all have to wait and see how Obama's chart line finishes up, though.

 

[Obama Poll Watch Data:]

Sources And Methodology

ObamaPollWatch.com is an admittedly amateur effort, but we do try to stay professional when it comes to revealing our sources and methodology. All our source data comes from RealClearPolitics.com; specifically from their daily presidential approval ratings "poll of polls" graphic page. We take their daily numbers, log them, and then average each month's data into a single number -- which is then shown on our monthly charts here (a "poll of polls of polls," if you will...). You can read a much-more detailed explanation of our source data and methodology on our "About Obama Poll Watch" page, if you're interested.

Questions or comments? Use the Email Chris page to drop me a private note.

 

Obama's Second Term Statistical Records

Monthly
Highest Monthly Approval -- 1/13 -- 52.7%
Lowest Monthly Approval -- 11/13 -- 41.4%

Highest Monthly Disapproval -- 12/13 -- 54.0%
Lowest Monthly Disapproval -- 1/13 -- 42.6%

Daily
Highest Daily Approval -- 1/31/13 -- 52.5%
Lowest Daily Approval -- 12/2/13 -- 39.8%

Highest Daily Disapproval -- 12/2/13 -- 55.9%
Lowest Daily Disapproval -- 2/24/13 -- 42.3%

 

Obama's Second Term Raw Monthly Data

[All-time high in bold, all-time low underlined.]

Month -- (Approval / Disapproval / Undecided)
03/15 -- 44.9 / 50.8 / 4.3
02/15 -- 45.4 / 50.1 / 4.5
01/15 -- 44.8 / 50.5 / 4.7
12/14 -- 42.4 / 52.8 / 4.8
11/14 -- 42.0 / 53.4 / 4.6
10/14 -- 42.1 / 53.4 / 4.5
09/14 -- 41.5 / 53.5 / 5.0
08/14 -- 41.6 / 53.0 / 5.4
07/14 -- 41.8 / 53.6 / 4.6
06/14 -- 42.4 / 53.4 / 4.2
05/14 -- 44.0 / 51.7 / 4.3
04/14 -- 43.4 / 52.1 / 4.5
03/14 -- 42.9 / 52.8 / 4.3
02/14 -- 43.3 / 52.3 / 4.4
01/14 -- 42.7 / 52.7 / 4.6
12/13 -- 41.9 / 54.0 / 4.1
11/13 -- 41.4 / 53.9 / 4.7
10/13 -- 44.2 / 50.8 / 5.0
09/13 -- 43.9 / 50.8 / 5.3
08/13 -- 44.4 / 50.2 / 5.4
07/13 -- 45.3 / 49.2 / 5.5
06/13 -- 46.5 / 48.5 / 5.0
05/13 -- 48.3 / 46.9 / 4.8
04/13 -- 48.6 / 46.8 / 4.6
03/13 -- 48.5 / 46.3 / 5.2
02/13 -- 51.1 / 43.0 / 5.9
01/13 -- 52.7 / 42.6 / 4.7

 

Second Term Column Archives

[Feb 15], [Jan 15], [Dec 14], [Nov 14], [Oct 14], [Sep 14], [Aug 14], [Jul 14], [Jun 14], [May 14], [Apr 14], [Mar 14], [Feb 14], [Jan 14], Dec 13], [Nov 13], [Oct 13], Sep 13], [Aug 13], [Jul 13], [Jun 13], [May 13], [Apr 13], [Mar 13], [Feb 13], [Jan 13]

 

First Term Data

To save space, the only data and statistics listed above are from Obama's second term. If you'd like to see the data and stats from Obama's first term, including a list of links to the full archives of the Obama Poll Watch column for the first term, we've set up an Obama Poll Watch First Term Data page, for those still interested.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

17 Comments on “Obama Poll Watch -- March, 2015”

  1. [1] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    BHO made an appearance in Louisville today. He was quite late. What a mess. The traffic was impressive and the multitudes of grateful constituents who lined the streets in the severe thunderstorms just to wave at the president showed real dedication.

    Aware that he is slumping in the polls, he boycotted Indiana while he was in town.

  2. [2] 
    Michale wrote:

    Obamacare is chalking up more successes as well, with absolutely none of the doom predicted by its opponents having yet come to pass.

    And yet, the majority of Americans STILL are against TrainWreckCare...

    There's a reason for that...

    Michale

  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    Aware that he is slumping in the polls, he boycotted Indiana while he was in town.

    Interesting.. WestWingReports tweeted that Obama wants to visit Iran before the end of his presidency...

    So, let me see if I understand this correctly..

    Obama WON'T visit an American state that just passed a law to protect the rights of ALL Americans, not just the politically correct Leftist Americans..

    But...

    Obama WILL visit a country who executes people for being gay and a country that is THE world's sponsor of terrorism..

    Yea, that sounds about right... :^/

    Michale

  4. [4] 
    Michale wrote:

    Well, at least Obama has finally created The Obama Doctrine..

    The Obama Doctrine states that it is safer and more productive to be America's enemy than it is to be America's ally...

    Obama finally has established the legacy of his presidency...

    Michale

  5. [5] 
    John M wrote:

    Michale wrote: Obama WON'T visit an American state that just passed a law to protect the rights of ALL Americans, not just the politically correct Leftist Americans..

    Really??? What law did they pass to protect the right of all Americans? What they actually did was to try to pass a law that allows religious conservative Christians to claim that somehow not allowing them to discriminate against others by using their religion to justify their bigotry somehow infringes on their religious liberty.

  6. [6] 
    John M wrote:

    Michale wrote: And yet, the majority of Americans STILL are against TrainWreckCare...

    Funny how that works. When you don't call it Obamacare, but actually list the different provisions of it individually and ask people about it, the majority of people polled are in favor of all the individual parts of Obamacare, just as long as you don't call it that collectively. Yep, FOX News and right wing propaganda sure have done their job.

  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    What they actually did was to try to pass a law that allows religious conservative Christians to claim that somehow not allowing them to discriminate against others by using their religion to justify their bigotry somehow infringes on their religious liberty.

    Simply not factual...

    They passed the SAME law that President Clinton signed in 1993 that was SPONSORED by the likes of Harry Reid and Chuck Schmuer...

    They passed the SAME law that Illinois passed in 1998. The same law that State Senator Barack Obama voted for..

    Would you be against a law that says, "All gay people in Indiana have the right to seek redress for discrimination thru the courts"..

    Of course you wouldn't.. You would whole-heartedly support that law..

    But change "gay people" to "christians" and all of the sudden, the Hysterical Left is against it..

    So, who are the bigots??

    Who are the proponents of intolerance and discrimination??

    Funny how that works, eh?? :D

    Funny how that works. When you don't call it Obamacare,

    Because it's a train wreck..

    but actually list the different provisions of it individually and ask people about it,

    yes.. If you tailor the poll questions to produce the desired outcome.. yep, you get the desired outcome..

    "Surprise, surprise, surprise..."
    -Gomer Pyle

    But around these here parts, the RCP polls are generally accepted as valid, even if they say something that the peanut gallery doesn't like...

    :D

    The simple fact is, that the majority of Americans do not support, do not like and do not want TrainWreckCare, AKA ObamaCare...

    "These are the facts. And they are undisputed."
    -Captain Smilin' Jack Ross, A FEW GOOD MEN

    Michale

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    One must be tolerant of those who are intolerant.

    One must not discriminate against those who would discriminate.

    Otherwise they are no better than the ones they condemn...

    https://youtu.be/RgWIhYAtan4

    Michale

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    But around these here parts, the RCP polls are generally accepted as valid, even if they say something that the peanut gallery doesn't like...

    Well, as "valid" that any poll conducted by humans can be....

    :D

    Michale

  10. [10] 
    Michale wrote:

    They passed the SAME law that President Clinton signed in 1993 that was SPONSORED by the likes of Harry Reid and Chuck Schmuer...

    They passed the SAME law that Illinois passed in 1998. The same law that State Senator Barack Obama voted for..

    You DO know the history of the RFRA, right??

    Michale

  11. [11] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    If I were a grifter who runs a nasty, unprofitable joint like Bad Memories Pizzeria, I would get on TV, spew a little preposterous hate speech about gay people actually wanting to eat my foul fare, and then wait for the vast right-wing conspiracy to generate a hate wave of extra sales for me a la Chick-fil-A. Rash Limpbone doesn't care what kind of memories those customers leave with. The Big Gay lynch mob will persecute me with fake orders and hardcore sarcasm like the KKK. I'll have to close down because I'm scared of fairies, but with a little luck, Republican rubes will pay me thousands of dollars to sit on my ass and not work. Praise Jesus!

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    If I were a grifter who runs a nasty, unprofitable joint like Bad Memories Pizzeria, I would get on TV, spew a little preposterous hate speech about gay people actually wanting to eat my foul fare, and then wait for the vast right-wing conspiracy to generate a hate wave of extra sales for me a la Chick-fil-A. Rash Limpbone doesn't care what kind of memories those customers leave with. The Big Gay lynch mob will persecute me with fake orders and hardcore sarcasm like the KKK. I'll have to close down because I'm scared of fairies, but with a little luck, Republican rubes will pay me thousands of dollars to sit on my ass and not work. Praise Jesus!

    The "tolerance" of the Hysterical Left in all it's bigoted, hateful and hurtful glory....

    I have always said that, when it comes to being bigoted and hateful, the Left is really no different than the Right...

    Thank you JFC, for proving me dead on ballz accurate once again...

    Michale

  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:

    If tomorrow's job numbers are good,

    Nope....

    US added 126K jobs in March, vs 245K expected
    http://www.cnbc.com/id/102559510

    and if the public approves of the deal with Iran,

    Nope....

    “It doesn’t appear as if Iran agreed to do anything specific.”
    -Jofi Joseph, Obama National Security Aide

    What else ya got??

    Michale

  14. [14] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    You've got to impressed with the hypocrisy included in the latest Republican talking point strawman that joins Iran and Indiana like Siamese twins (dutifully cut and pasted above). I wonder when Republicans will stop bitching about taxes because some other country has higher taxes.

  15. [15] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    We want the cake.

  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    You've got to impressed with the hypocrisy included in the latest Republican talking point strawman that joins Iran and Indiana like Siamese twins (dutifully cut and pasted above). I wonder when Republicans will stop bitching about taxes because some other country has higher taxes.

    "Quit trying to {{ignore}} me and {{ignore}} me.."
    -Morpheus, THE MATRIX

    :D
    Nobody "joined" anything except for you...

    I merely pointed out the hypocrisy of your Dear Leader being more civilized to a country that executes gay people and supports terrorism than said Dear Leader is to his own fellow Americans...

    It's funny how no one here wants to address that, eh? :D

    Michale

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    The thing here is that gay activists are not about tolerance or discrimination.

    They demand respect and acceptance. And if they can't get it on their own merits, then they will attempt to legislate it and extort it..

    The gay activists are like the nerd that doesn't get to play SPIN THE BOTTLE. They go tell the teacher and make sure everyone is as miserable as they are..

    What's ironic is that, had the gay activists let the market work, no one would have heard about MEMORIES Pizza Place...

    But the gay stormtroopers had to swing into action and now the owners of MEMORIES are richer to the tune of a half million dollars...

    The gay activists are hoisted by their own Picard... :D

    Michale

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