Obama's poll numbers after first month? Eh. He's average.

Jake Turcotte
President Barack Obama scores a 68 percent approval rating according to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll. At this stage in his presidency, that number is about average.

Although politicians frequently say "you can't govern by polls," who's going to discard good polling results?

And even when you say you don't care (usually when your poll numbers are bad), you find a way to spin it.

When Rod Blagojevich was asked about his stunningly awful four-percent approval rating, he countered that he'd actually seen one poll that had him in the low 20s – a marked improvement.

Blago's numbers are a far cry from another Illinois politician.  Namely, the new POTUS.

Average Joe

President Obama goes into tonight's big speech with a 68 percent approval rating, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll. Great numbers? Average, for this point in a presidency.

Here's a comparison of presidential approval ratings taken in February of their first year as president.

Bush 43 (2/25/01): 55 percent
Clinton (2/23/93): 63 percent
Bush 41 (2/14/89): 76 percent
Reagan (2/20/81): 68 percent
Carter (2/21/77): 71 percent
Nixon (2/25/69): 60 percent
Kennedy (2/15/61): 72 percent
Eisenhower (2/27/53): 67 percent

Partisan breakdown

How is Obama doing in this age of post-partisanship?

Some 90 percent of Democrats approve of Obama's first month, compared to 37 percent of Republicans.

Uniter, not a divider

What about working with the other party? This is where, despite the bumps last month when only three Republicans voted for Obama's economic stimulus package, the president scores much better than the GOP.

A full 73 percent of Americans believe Obama is trying to work with Republicans. Only 34 percent believe the GOP is working with Obama.

Down, down, down

Gallup has a new poll out as well.

Job approval numbers are similar to the Wash Post/ABC poll. But they note Obama's disapproval rating has doubled from from 12 percent to 24 percent.

Same old

As for the media, some critics claim that most news organizations will give the president a free pass. If today's column by the Washington Post's Dana Milbank is any barometer however, maybe the Commander-in-Chief – regardless of which party is in power – will receive equal treatment.

At least Milbank remains the same anyway.

"Holding a 'fiscal responsibility summit' at the White House in the middle of a government spending spree is a bit like having an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting at a frat house on homecoming weekend," Milbank writes.

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