CNN released results from a poll this week that shows that over 50% of Americans think Obama shouldn't run for a second term. This sounds shocking but I just heard one of my favorite journalists, Jack Beatty (someone I trust), say that Ronald Reagan had similar numbers in his first year. I haven't been able to confirm this anywhere on the net, but to be honest I didn't try that long. It makes sense to me though. The unemployment rate was extremely high when he took office. He inherited Carter's mess much like Obama inherited Bush's. People want miracles and don't have the patience that an economic recovery could take. I won't expect the employment situation to be good until 2012 or so which doesn't bode well for a re-election. Whether he caused it or not, doesn't seem to matter much. He owns it regardless.
I lived through the Reagan era and I have to admit he is not one of my favorite presidents. I cringe when I hear someone raving about him. They seem to think that everyone liked him ... wanting to put his face on currency and mountain sides etc. In my search for the Beatty data today I stumbled on some other interesting data that does show that I am not alone. I found an article on the Gallup web site that shows the average presidential approval rating since WW II. Reagan's approval is not only not the highest but surprisingly low. He is only high if you compare him to the three presidents before him. Some say that his greatest accomplishment is that he restored the electorate's faith in the presidency. He didn't restore mine, but the numbers show a different story about the average. They are certainly higher than Nixon's, Ford's and Carter's. Big whoop! Bush 43 is not in the list yet. The article is from 2004 so the numbers were not in yet. I would love to see them added to this graph.
Clinton, Bush 41, Eisenhower, Johnson and Kennedy all had a higher average approval rating than Reagan ... and there is no talk of putting any of them up on Mt. Rushmore.