Obama’s Partisan Gap
President Barack Obama has the widest partisan gap in early job approval ratings of any president in the past four decades, according to a Pew Research Center public opinion poll that got a lot of attention in the blogosphere on Monday.
The poll gives Obama an 88 percent approval rating among his own Democrats and a 27 percent rating among opposition Republicans.
The 61-point partisan gap in Obama’s job performance reflects a growing divide and a long-term trend, says Pew.
At the same point in Republican George W. Bush’s first term, in April 2001, there was a 51-point partisan gap in views of his job performance — 87 percent approval among Republicans while Democrats gave him a 36 percent approval rating.
In early April 1993, 71 percent of Democrats approved of Bill Clinton’s job performance, while 26 percent of Republicans gave the Democratic president a favorable rating.
Going back in time, partisanship was far less evident in the early job approval ratings for both Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon, Pew says.
A majority of Republicans (56%) approved of Democrat Carter’s job performance in late March 1977, and a majority of Democrats (55%) approved of Republican Nixon’s performance at a comparable point in his first term.