Is Obama a party animal? U.S. political trends make it so

January 25, 2010

The folks at Gallup say Barack Obama is easily the most ‘polarized’ first-year president of the postwar era — and they’re not talking about pre-digital camera snapshots.
    
They mean that Obama, like his immediate predecessors,  is the object of growing partisanship within American public opinion.
OBAMA/
Obama finished his first year in office on Jan. 19 with an 88 percent job approval rating among Democrats but only 23 percent approval among Republicans.
    
That leaves a 65-percentage-point gap between the two partisan lines, eclipsing the previous first-year polarization record of 52 points, held by Democrat Bill Clinton.
    
If Obama’s numbers don’t change, he will exceed Republican George W. Bush as the most polarized of post-World War II presidents. (Over the course of Bush’s presidency, Republicans and Democrats were 61 points apart on average.)
    
But there’s something more afoot than the individual horse races.
    
Gallup says its findings illustrate an upswing in voter partisanship since the time of Republican Ronald Reagan. Before the 1980s, partisan approval gaps ranged from a low of 19 percent for Democrat Lyndon Johnson to a high of 34 percent for Republican Richard Nixon.
    
“Obama — like his immediate predecessor Bush — sought to bring Americans together after periods of heightened political polarization in the United States. But despite their best intentions and efforts, both men’s approval ratings have been characterized by extreme partisanship,” Gallup said.
    
“The way Americans view presidents has clearly changed in recent decades, perhaps owing to the growth in variety, sources and even politicization of news on cable television and the Internet, and the continuing popularity of politically oriented talk radio.”

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Photo Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (Obama)

7 comments

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“I’m not a crook…”
“Mistakes were made…”
“I did not have…”
“It’s time for change…”.

Posted by Anon86 | Report as abusive

Republicans openly vowing to object to everything this President does, including troop funding, does not make him the most polarizing. It makes Republicans the most mentally retarded. George Bush was rallied around because Democrats have this nagging thing about giving the President the benefit of the doubt. Even after he stabbed them and America in the back (Every child left behind), they still approved his corporatist Supreme Court nominees. Please tell your stories more accurately, otherwise i’ll just switch to Faux News. At least their entertaining.

Posted by Streetfighter | Report as abusive

“I’m not a crook…”
“Mistakes were made…”
“I did not have…”
“It’s time for change…”.

Posted by Anon86

Don’t forget “No one could have predicted…”

Posted by Yellow105 | Report as abusive

now i’m not a judgemental kind of guy. well, actually i am. so, we’ve got this guy in the white house, who seems to be kind of smart. came out of nowhere. no real anything to back his — up. so the the chicago machine packaged him good. fine. at least he might have a brain. i think he’s going to lose his soul to the men he hooked up with. let’s start with rahm. should pretty much end it there. now there’s a smart man. mean, self-centered,sacrifice his crew kind of guy. a regular rahm-butin. impressive. should look good for the mayoral race in chicago. makes you wonder what motivates him. i’m a ground level kind of man, dirty hands, use the back more than the brain kind of guy. so, given all that. geithner is a smart man. who just happens to piss off emanuel. hmmmm. wonder what ol’ rahm is up to. we have very intelligent men being driven like cows up a chute to the kill gun by very crafty men in the shadows. makes you wonder. oh, and volcker, looks like weekend at bernie’s doesn’t it? by the way, i’m a republican switching over to independent. gotta hedge my bets, shouldn’t i?

Posted by highmountainhot | Report as abusive

so, the litmus test begins. we have an ultra left-liberal president. more like a prime minister. i’m a capitalist republican leaning towards independent kind of guy. make my living with my hands kind of guy. i think, therefor, i think that dumbass needs to deliver on his promise. would someone please do what they say they’re going to do. a bunch of weatherman. yep, looks like snow. not one of the idiots has a window in their office to look out. vote for me. i’ll be horrible, but at least i’ll tell you we need to go to the side that’s up on the sinking ship. thatsvoteforjimforemperor.duh?

Posted by highmountainhot | Report as abusive

The statistics are a simple reflection of the political sentiments of the American people. We’ve become a polarized nation. Perhaps because we think that politics is like sports, there can only be one winner?

Shame on us. Politics is not an “I win – You lose” proposition — unless, of course, politicians make it one.

Which they have done. But again, why?

Because they are a reflection of our own nature. After all, who put them in LaLaLand on the Potomac? Or in state legislatures.

We The People did.

Posted by deLafayette | Report as abusive

This job is too much for one person, I would be partying all the time to numb the pain.

ps: that state-of-the-art photo on the main page is a bad photoshop attempt, does the man actually exist or is this an ‘adviser matrix’ going down ?

Posted by Ghandiolfini | Report as abusive