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Obama's Job Approval Ratings and the 2010 Midterm Elections

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If history is a guide to midterm elections, the party that controls the White House usually loses House seats in the off-year contests and the losses are bigger when the president's job approval rating is below 50 percent.

Gallup looked at its figures for presidents dating back to 1946 to reach that conclusion -- and pointedly noted that President Obama for the last two weeks has been sitting at a 45 percent job approval rating. Obama's average rating for the year-to-date is 48 percent, compared to 57 percent in 2009.

When presidents are above 50 percent, the average loss of seats for his party in the midterms is 14. When he is below 50 percent, the average loss is 36 seats.
State of the Union Address
The biggest such loss in midterms since 1946 was in the 1994 electoral earthquake when the Republicans recaptured the House after it had been in Democratic hands for most of the previous 40 years. Then-President Bill Clinton's approval rating was 46 percent -- and the GOP picked up 53 seats.

Ronald Reagan's GOP lost 28 seats in 1982 when his approval dipped to 42 percent and Lyndon Johnson's Democrats lost 47 seats when his approval stood at 44 percent in 1966.

An exception to that rule in recent times was former President Carter, whose approval rating heading into the 1978 midterms was 49 percent, but saw the loss of only 11 Democratic House seats.

Gallup said that in trying to limit midterm losses, "it is unclear to what extent they [the Democrats] will employ the president to help them make that case, though his ability to make a positive impact could be limited if his approval ratings continue to register below 50 percent."

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23 Comments

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lemuel31

Jacob Weisberg of Newsweek on his Palinism piece is a one true proof of Newsweek's hard left leaning and biased views ,his disgust on the conservatives such Palin and Fox as well as spewing insults to all women who did not go to Ivy leagues as he did. His condescension and his hatred of anyone who is not liberal or leftminded or as intellectual is unacceptable for someone who thinks he is a journalist.He thinks his highbrow roots from Harvard and Yale is all it takes to bring down someone who is not a card carrying leftwingnut like him.Do you hate Foxnews so much,or is it the fear of the left on Palin that is feeding the fire on your hate the conservative white and gun slinging cheerleader what the heck that is so Palin. You are one of the reasons I am not renewing Newsweek when my subscription expires.Newsweek has losts its soul to everything left. The journalists (if we can them as that) or writers are all left wingers, their views and articles are becoming irrelevant, their talking points are always smearing the right...oh i think the left are now relly getting scared.

August 11 2010 at 4:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
movieloader

Fanastyland figure.. Since the US job market needs 110 thousand new jobs each month for the new workers entering the job market your NUMBERS FAIL SHORT PAL..
No matter how you slice up that pie...

cjjanis1:44 PM Aug 9, 2010(5) vote this comment up (21) vote this comment down Wrong we added 73,000 private sector jobs last month, the third month in a row that we added private sector jobs. If it was not for the census workers being dropped we would of showed better progress. Progressive are out? And just what has the GOP offered? Nothing! Oh they want to keep the Bush tax cuts for the top 6% and make us all work till we are 70

August 10 2010 at 3:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
movieloader

cjjanis if you only had a brain.... You liberals took the US National debt from 8.7 trillion from Jan 4th 2007 and drove it up to 13.3 trillion today.. With nothing to show for it , but the bill..

August 10 2010 at 3:20 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
JIM

andrc, as I've suggested earlier, replace them all, Democrat or Republican. I really don't know of any of them that care about us taxpayers after their in Washington for more than one term. Another thing we really need is term limits. I'm at an advanced age, (not nearly ninety yet) and I already have problems remembering. We have representatives in Washington in their eighties and nineties that have been there forever. Term limits would solve this problem and hopefully give better representation to the American taxpayers.

August 09 2010 at 7:51 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
andrc657

President Obama's ratings at this point in his presidency are fairly typical. The big question is whether the republicans have any ideas or will they just continue to OBSTRUCT and say NO.

August 09 2010 at 7:03 PM Report abuse -6 rate up rate down Reply
JIM

It's really interesting to read the thoughts from different people. We have the right wingers, the left wingers and the in between wingers. The left wingers keep blaming former Pres. Bush for our current economic crisis. Fact of the matter is, we have an out of control Congress which is completely out of touch with the American people. Pelosi, Reid and the Obama adsministration is leading us down the path of Socialism. Lets forget about Bush. He's gone! Our present leaders who are still in the Ivory Tower should be concentrating on solving our economic problems instead of adding to them. Without question, our elected officials are ignoring the fact that this Country is run by the people - for the people. The Constitution is being ignored. Whether Democrat or Republican, I recommend the whole works in Washington be replaced. Only then will we have representatives who are not "career politicians", but truly representatives of their constituents. Namely us, the taxpayers.

August 09 2010 at 4:02 PM Report abuse +13 rate up rate down Reply
tnickerson08

cjjanis:
First of all it was 71,000 jobs not 73,000 but that's if you use obama's formula of jobs "created,saved or imaginative". I would hardly call loosing 131,000 jobs the "summer of recovery".

August 09 2010 at 4:02 PM Report abuse +12 rate up rate down Reply
Kenneth

I can see it now. The Democrats just keep spending with the people screaming no and the republican using common sense trying to stop them. In 4 years when the deficit is two times what it is now and more business have closed and the government unemployment numbers reach 22% they turn and state maybe we should have listened to the people and the republicans. What will Obama use for a campaign speech in 2012. I know I was wrong in the first 4 years but now I think I can fix it all in my second 4 years

August 09 2010 at 2:57 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply
jrb359

It wouldn't be a big surprise to see most of the Dems booted out in November. The current president believes in big government, has only ADDED to the deficit with his stimulus bill. Unemployment we were told would drop, but increased. The economy is still in neutral. The issues important to Americans are overlooked, while energy is put into things that people don't want like Obamacare and illegal immigration. Progressives are out of touch with America and they will see in November.

August 09 2010 at 1:15 PM Report abuse +20 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jrb359's comment
Kenneth

Creating 73,000 private sector jobs,this is if it is a true number or a government adjusted number, is only 1,460 jobs per state. That is like throwing and glass of water on a burning building. If the democrats would have taken the proper approach this number would mean nothing with unemployment already down to 6%.

August 09 2010 at 3:14 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
phylliskunz

The Kentucky Senate race is drawing natinal attention, and in my opinion
D-Attorney General Jack Conway would best represent Kentucky. Rand Paul
is radical and callous. To unfortunate events he says, "Accidents happen"

August 09 2010 at 12:52 PM Report abuse -18 rate up rate down Reply

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