Among the things campaign-watchers have been following in looking towards what will happen on Election Day is the impact of President Obama's sagging job approval ratings and the historical fact that the party in control of the White House usually loses seat in an election year.
The latest Gallup survey
says Obama averaged a 45 percent job approval rating in September. That puts him in the company of Ronald Reagan whose approval rating was 42 percent in 1982 when the Republicans went on to lose 28 House seats and Bill Clinton whose rating was 46 percent at this point in 1994 and saw his party lose 53 seats and control of the House (as well as the Senate). Gallup has a chart of presidential approval ratings and how their parties fared in midterms that you can see here
There appears to be little question that Obama's unpopularity among many voters is hurting some Democrats. A Quinnipiac poll
in the key swing state of Ohio found that to be the case, setting up the prospect of Republicans taking both the Senate and governor races. Obama's ratings in other state polls
tell a similar story.
The President who headed into the midterms with a positive approval numbers was Richard Nixon in 1972, whose rating rose from 51 percent to 58 percent in the final weeks before the election, according to Gallup. Aside from Nixon's positive standing, the Republicans were making inroads into Democratic territory with his "Southern strategy" which sought to cash in on changes in the region and the backlash to the political and social upheavals of the 60s and 70s. That helped cushion the midterm effect, and the GOP lost only 12 seats.
Nixon, of course, wasn't around very long to enjoy that relatively good off-year showing since he was impeached in 1974 on charges stemming from the Watergate burglary and cover-up and resigned that August.
The two presidents who were faring worse than Obama in opinion polls on the eve of the midterms were George W. Bush who stood at 38 percent in 2006 when his party lost 30 seats, and Harry Truman whose rating was 33 percent in 1946 when Democrats lost 55 seats.
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