The poll, released Monday, put the president's job approval rating at 47 percent – a figure that Fox News correspondent Major Garrett noted, at Mr. Gibbs' Tuesday meeting with reporters, "is the lowest of any president dating back to [Harry] Truman at this stage of his presidency."
In a blame-the-messenger moment, the press secretary, citing swings in Mr. Obama's approval ratings in Gallup daily tracking data, said: “I am sure a 6-year-old with a crayon could do something not unlike that."
Gibbs continued: "I don’t put a lot of stake in, never have, in the EKG that is the daily Gallup trend. I don’t pay a lot of attention to the meaninglessness of it.”
The Monitor has asked Gallup for comment. If the polling firm gives one, we will report it here.
Poll numbers bounce around, affected by events in the country and the world. But they do provide a rough guide to the clout a president has in getting his legislative program through Congress.
Falling among friends and enemies
Since November, when Obama’s approval rating was 53 percent, his poll numbers have fallen three percentage points among Democrats, seven points among independents, and four points among Republicans, Gallup reported Monday.
Gallup noted that so far in December Obama has averaged 50 percent job approval – similar to the averages of two presidents who took office when the economy was struggling, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. Other recent presidents, who took office in better economic times, had approval ratings of 57 or more in the December of their first terms.
Worse than Reagan in December 1981
Here are the first-year December approval figures for recent presidents, according to Gallup.
Dwight Eisenhower, 69 percent
John Kennedy, 77 percent
Richard Nixon, 59 percent
Jimmy Carter, 57 percent
Ronald Reagan, 49 percent
George H.W. Bush, 71 percent
Bill Clinton, 53 percent
George W. Bush, 86 percent
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