The Blog

Barack Obama is Popular, Wild and Crazy Guy

11:48 AM, Mar 17, 2009 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

A bunch of new polls have come out as the Obama presidency enters its third month. NPR has Obama's approval rating at 59 percent. Pew has the same number, a drop of 5 points since the research center's February poll. Gallup has Obama in the same range, at 61 percent approval. Rasmussen has Obama's approval rating at the low end of 56 percent.

The Gallup poll notes that, in its survey, Obama has a higher approval rating than both Clinton (53 percent) and GWB (58 percent) did at this point in their presidencies. Good for him!

But this misses the most interesting aspect of Obama's numbers. It is not that they are at the high end of the range for recent presidents. It's that they are within the range to begin with. Over the past two years we have been told, over and over again, that Barack Obama is special, new, revolutionary.

Bosh. As far as approval ratings go, he's average.

We've been promised a "new politics," but that was wishful thinking. Reality is about to set in. The fact is that the United States is a large country with two significant political tendencies, liberalism and conservatism, and the degree to which one tendency succeeds sparks disapproval from the other.

As long as he remains committed to his budget, Republicans' disapproval of Obama will rise. Maybe not to the stratospherically high levels of disapproval that Democrats felt toward George W. Bush. But still high. And that means Obama's approval rating will fall to earth. No change. We are stuck with the 50-50 nation.