- The Washington Times - Monday, February 9, 2015


Partisan sentiment appears to be reaching extreme levels in the 24/7 news environment. In the six years President Obama has been in the White House, an average of 79 percent of Democrats gave him a positive job review, compared with 9 percent of Republicans. The 70-percentage-point party gap in approval ratings is on track to be the most polarizing presidency on record says a Gallup study of current and historical survey data that dates back to 1953. If the trend continues, it would “easily the highest for any president to date,” writes analyst Jeffrey Jones.

George W. Bush is second with a 61-percentage point gap throughout his presidency, followed by Bill Clinton (56 percentage points) and Ronald Reagan (52 points). Things appear less joltingly partisan in previous eras. Consider, for example, that the gap was 41 points during the Richard Nixon administration, 39 points under Dwight Eisenhower, 31 points for Gerald Ford, and 30 points during Lyndon Johnson’s time in office.

“These increasingly partisan views of presidents may have as much to do with the environment in which these presidents have governed as with their policies, given 24-hour news coverage of what they do and increasingly partisan news and opinion sources on television, in print and online,” notes Mr. Jones. “Operating within this context, Obama is on pace to be the president with the most polarized approval ratings in Gallup’s polling history, surpassing Bush. Aside from the initial two months of Obama’s presidency, Republicans have consistently rated the job he is doing very negatively - to this point, far worse than supporters of the opposition party have ever rated a president.”

The conclusions about Mr. Obama are based on much information. Results are based on telephone interviews conducted Jan. 20, 2014-Jan. 19, 2015, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 177,032 U.S. adults; the total samples of 53,288 Democrats and 50,022 Republicans.

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