Who was more popular, Obama or Reagan? The conventional wisdom is that Reagan was an extremely popular president, while the drumbeat about Obama seems ominously negative, with numerous reports of his failures and popular disapproval. (so much for the supposedly liberal media!) Could Obama's unpopularity be partly a result of perennially dissatisfied liberals, unhappy that the Obama administration has not brought all the troops home, locked all the Wall Street executives in jail, and enacted Medicare for all? Could it be the result of a concerted effort by the right to attack the administration's every proposal?
Or could it be that the conventional wisdom is actually entirely wrong? According to Gallup, Obama's approval rating has been holding steady at around 50% since last fall (it reached a low of 46% earlier this month and currently stands at 48%) Considering all of the negativity in the media, and how much attention is paid to the critics and protesters, and considering that we are still mired in perhaps the worst economy since the Great Depression, an approval rating of close to 50% really doesn't seem all that bad.
How does that compare to the supposedly immensely popular Ronald Reagan? It might surprise a lot of people to know that Reagan's average approval rating during his presidency was only 53%, again according to Gallup. Reagan was more popular than his predecessors, Nixon, Ford and Carter, but significantly less popular than his successors George Bush I or Bill Clinton. During Reagan's second year in office (reminder: we are in Obama's second year in office), Reagan's approval rating averaged 43%. FORTY-THREE PERCENT!