James Pethokoukis

Politics and policy from inside Washington

Unemployment and presidential disapproval ratings

November 6, 2009

Some interesting charts (via TNR) looking at the linkage between unemployment and disapproval ratings:

110609reagan

110609clinton2

110609obama1

Comments

Your graphs suggest presidents live and die by state of the economy.
As someone who was a five-year-old in 1983 and only ever has heard praise about Reagan, it is astonishing to see that Ronald Reagan ever had a >50% disapproval rating, and faced steadily increasing unemployment for the first two years of his term.
Maybe that offers some perspective on the current situation.

Posted by Doug | Report as abusive
 

Those graphs show the correlation between joblessness and presidential approval. What isn’t mentioned is a correlation between joblessness and the health of corporate America. As Voltaire said, “The comfort of the wealthy depends on an abundance of the poor”

There’s a balance to be made between corporate health and social health which this country has had difficulty finding. That is why our economy is so aggravatingly cyclical.

Presidents come and Presidents go, but the constant is the Congress’ love of their jobs. Any entity which ensures their continued presence in the House or Senate will have their loyalty. Perhaps if the Congress were examined with the same scrutiny as the President, we would be able to weed out those who are mindful only of feathering their own nest.

Posted by Not Unemployed anymore | Report as abusive
 

refitting these graphs so the unemployment rate has a constant scale reveals that the correlation isn’t nearly as strong as it looks right now.

There’s also no reason for the variable scales, other than to mislead. The range for Reagan is almost identical to the range under Obama.

 

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