ChrisWeigant.com

Obama Poll Watch -- October, 2015

[ Posted Thursday, November 5th, 2015 – 17:36 PST ]

Flattest Year Ever Continues

Barack Obama has had not only his most stable year of job approval polling, but quite likely the most stable year ever recorded for any president (since scientific public opinion polling began). Now, this doesn't mean Obama's been charting extraordinarily good numbers (he is roughly 13 points lower than President Bill Clinton was, at this point in his second term), nor extraordinarily bad numbers (Obama is also polling 13 points above where George W. Bush was, at this point) -- but Obama's numbers have indeed been extraordinarily stable. Both his job approval monthly average and his job disapproval monthly average have kept within a range of around one percent, all year long.

You can see this in the chart. Just before the calendar year began, Obama got a big spike upwards in job approval. Since January, however, things have been pretty flat.

Obama Approval -- October 2015

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

October, 2015

Obama finished October with no net gain or loss. His job approval number inched down 0.3 points to finish the month at 45.3 percent. His job disapproval number balanced this loss by improving by exactly the same amount, to finish at 50.0 percent. The difference between the two stayed at 4.7 percent, unchanged from last month.

The president wasn't in the news all that much last month, which may be a major reason why his numbers didn't change all that much. Or perhaps, as we approach the final year of his presidency, everyone's just already made up their minds about him. Either way, there were a few minor news items from the White House, but nothing made a big splash in the headlines.

This was mostly due to the continuing focus on the presidential nomination race, of course. October saw the first Democratic debate and the third Republican debate, both of which dominated the political news. The Democratic side has been reduced to three candidates, and Joe Biden finally decided against running. The Republican side is as crazy as ever, with no winnowing in sight.

Congress was in the news last month, but the fireworks all the pundits were expecting mostly fizzled (with the exception of the speaker race). John Boehner put together a "barn-cleaning" final deal with the Democrats and the White House, but it was of the nature of the "dog that didn't bark in the night," since some were predicting another government shutdown or debt default -- neither of which happened, as a result of Boehner's final swansong. The House Republicans once again astonished everyone at their ineptitude when the man hand-picked for speaker had to hastily withdraw his candidacy -- and then every Republican in Washington had to go on bended knee before Paul Ryan, begging him loudly to save their bacon by accepting the job. And then, to top off this Keystone Kops act, Hillary Clinton emerged completely unscathed from 11 hours of grilling over Benghazi and her emails. Another dud, rather than the fireworks Republicans were expecting.

None of this, however, was reflected in Obama's approval ratings, because very little of it had anything to do with him.

 

Overall Trends

If Obama keeps up the flat trendline he's managed all year long, it may be the most stable year in presidential polling ever, as I mentioned. His monthly average job approval numbers have fluctuated in a range of only 1.1 percent, from 44.6 up to 45.7 percent. To put this in context, his best month ever (when Osama Bin Laden was killed), he improved 5.0 percent in a single month. Even discounting that high point, he rose 3.0 percent in his second-best month. That's for only one month, compared to his record for the past ten. Obama's disapproval numbers have been even more stable, fluctuating in a range of only 0.9 percent all year (from 49.9 to 50.8 percent). Take a look at our expanded-view chart to see the remarkable stability Obama has seen all year:

Obama detail

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

Within October, Obama's daily job approval average started roughly where he ended last month, at 45.5 percent, then dipped to a mid-month low of 44.6 percent, before recovering up to 46.1 percent by month's end. His disapproval numbers were more consistent, although the trend is not as good. Obama started the month with a daily average disapproval rating of 49.2 percent, but this rose fairly steadily throughout the month to hit 51.0 percent towards the end.

November doesn't have any enormously-contentious issues on the horizon (at least, that I'm aware of), although it'll be interesting to see how Ryan deals with the Tea Partiers in the House. The next big budget battle won't come until early December, however, so Obama may not be in the news much at all this month. The presidential race continues to heat up, and will also continue to dominate the political headlines. Thanksgiving might boost Obama's ratings purely on a feel-good holiday bump, but even if this happens it likely will fade away afterwards. After watching the first ten months of the year, the safe bet is that Obama will continue to post small gains and losses, but will overall remain remarkably stable.

 

[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)
10/15 -- 45.3 / 50.0 / 4.7
09/15 -- 45.6 / 50.3 / 4.1
08/15 -- 44.7 / 50.4 / 4.9
07/15 -- 45.7 / 50.0 / 4.3
06/15 -- 44.6 / 50.7 / 4.7
05/15 -- 45.4 / 50.0 / 4.6
04/15 -- 45.2 / 49.9 / 4.9
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

[Sep 15], [Aug 15], [Jul 15], [Jun 15], [May 15], [Apr 15], [Mar 15], [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

 

22 Comments on “Obama Poll Watch -- October, 2015”

  1. [1] 
    Michale wrote:

    When one looks at Obama's poll numbers in the context of expectations....

    They are well and truly dismal...

    Utterly and unequivocally dismal...

    Michale

  2. [2] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    That actually makes sense, Michale ... I'm impressed. Surprised, albeit, but thoroughly impressed.

  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    That actually makes sense, Michale ... I'm impressed. Surprised, albeit, but thoroughly impressed.

    Why, thank you.. :D

    Michale

  4. [4] 
    TheStig wrote:

    In assessing Obamas approval polls, you should ask:

    compared to what?

    Himself? His best percentages were immediately after his election (low 60s), steady decline over the next year to flatish numbers for most of his tenure, mostly in the 40s.

    Compared to other presidents in the era of scientific polls, his popularity high water mark seems to be lowest of any, but his lowest popularity (low 40s) is higher than that of LBJ, Nixon,Ford, Carter, HW Bush, GW Bush, and virtually the same as Clinton's.

    Maybe we should compare his popularity to other branches of government? Like Congress, with an approval of about 13%. Or the Supreme Court, currently at about 45%. The latest poll I can find puts the Republican Party at 32%, Democratic Party at 48%.

    Maybe the best way to evaluate Obama is to note that government is not popular at present, and Obama holds a position in government. Republicans are Elephants, Democrats are Donkeys, and the electorate is a murder of Angry Birds.

  5. [5] 
    Michale wrote:

    compared to what?

    What was expected of him...

    What he himself said would be delivered...

    "the rise of the oceans would slow and the planet would begin to heal."

    "There is no red states, there is no blue states, there is only a UNITED States"

    "to heal race relations"

    etc etc etc..

    THAT is what we should compare his poll numbers to...

    His promise....

    Michale

  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    The afore comment gives you a window into the animosity I have for our POTUS....

    Michale

  7. [7] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    THAT is what we should compare his poll numbers to...

    His promise....

    i understand the sentiment, but ultimately we need to judge people based on what they have done, not what we expected of them. is obama guilty of raising our expectations? unequivocally yes.

    as of this day, Obama has delivered mezzo-mezzo results, firmly in the realm of a Taft, a Hayes, or perhaps a Van Buren. Sure we're entitled to be disappointed, perhaps even angry that we've come so far from his initial promise and our initial expectation. but results alone are the standard by which a presidency should be judged. once we get over our disappointment, we must accept that we got an okay presidency - not great, just average. in my view, that's what the poll numbers reflect.

    JL

  8. [8] 
    rdnewman wrote:

    @TheStig [#4]

    ...and the electorate is a murder of Angry Birds.

    I imagine James Lipton might say it's an outrage of Angry Birds.

    (sorry, couldn't resist... though, perhaps it's a "gnashing of Angry Birds", hmm)

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    a murder of Angry Birds.

    A reference to Cuba Gooding's last decent movie?? :D

    Michale

  10. [10] 
    Paula wrote:

    The President finally came out and rejected the Keystone Pipeline: good for him!

  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:

    Once again, sticking it to the middle class in favor of lobbyists and interest groups and environmental whack-jobs...

    Yea... Good for him.... Bad for Americans...

    Michale

  12. [12] 
    Paula wrote:

    Michale: To think Keystone was going to provide middle-class jobs shows you are uninformed. There were never going to be any long-term jobs, or rather, a mere handful would remain post-construction. Meanwhile, landowners all along the pathway would have been forced to allow the pipeline through their lands, putting farms, ranches, and communities at risk. The folks who would make the money? The execs in the Canadian company. The folks who would bear the damages when leaks happened? American ranchers, American farmers and American citizens who's water supplies intersected with the pipeline.

    So I guess you're a !% kind of guy on this one.

  13. [13] 
    Paula wrote:

    1%

  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:

    Short term jobs are better than NO TERM jobs...

    Obama sold out the middle class in favor of lobbyists, special interests and environmental whack-jobs..

    It's that simple..

    Michale

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    i understand the sentiment, but ultimately we need to judge people based on what they have done, not what we expected of them.

    I disagree...

    Look at it from the perspective of an employer hiring a promising employee, which is EXACTLY what it is...

    If Monsters Inc hires James P Sullivan for his potential and Sully doesn't live up to that potential then James P Sullivan is a failure because he didn't deliver what he promised..

    Obama didn't deliver what he promised..

    NO ONE can deny that...

    Ergo, Obama is a failure...

    That's my take, anyways...

    Michale

  16. [16] 
    nypoet22 wrote:
  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    Once upon a time, the Left Wingery (get it?? Birds... Wingery... Wow.. tough room :D heh) actually CARED about domestic surveillance and made hysterical claims such as "Police State!!!" etc etc..

    But, I guess THAT only happens when the POTUS has a '-R' after his name, eh?? :^/

    Yep.. No hypocrisy there..... :^D

    Michale

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    Paula,

    So I guess you're a 1% kind of guy on this one.

    Actually, the facts clearly show that the majority of Americans are in favor of the Keystone Pipeline...

    It's only the environmental whack-jobs who are against it..

    So, in reality, it's YOU who is the 1% on this issue..

    Once again, Obama's policies are opposed by the majority of Americans..

    Amazing how that's always the case, eh? :D

    Michale

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    On the Iran front..

    Obama held hostage: How Iran’s using the nuke deal as license to go wild
    http://nypost.com/2015/11/07/obama-held-hostage-how-irans-using-the-nuke-deal-as-license-to-go-wild/

    Who could have POSSIBLY thought that the religious fanatics of Iran would use America's tacit endorsement and approval of Iran's activities to go hog wild..

    Oh.... wait.....

    Michale

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    Sorry... Comment #19 should have been posted to the FTP

    I thought I had stopped it in time, but apparently not..

    My bust..

    Michale

  21. [21] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Once upon a time, the Left Wingery (get it?? Birds... Wingery... Wow.. tough room :D heh) actually CARED about domestic surveillance and made hysterical claims such as "Police State!!!" etc etc..

    [re: 17] take a deep breath and pause michale, because i'm going to write a few words you won't see very often from me. you're absolutely right about this. on domestic surveillance, drone use, and a host of other civil liberties violations, the obama administration has been even more bush-like than bush was, and have largely gotten away with it among a substantial cross-section of lefties, people who ought to know better and be making noise about it.

    JL

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    [re: 17] take a deep breath and pause michale, because i'm going to write a few words you won't see very often from me. you're absolutely right about this. on domestic surveillance, drone use, and a host of other civil liberties violations, the obama administration has been even more bush-like than bush was, and have largely gotten away with it among a substantial cross-section of lefties, people who ought to know better and be making noise about it.

    Thank you, Joshua...

    Although it's not too surprising.. Whenever I mention that there are a couple Weigantians who are reasonable and rational about the Right/Left issues, you are always foremost in my mind...

    But it's nice to see it in print, every now and again.. :D

    Thanx...

    Michale

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