The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Monday, March 06, 2006

The flip side of approval ratings

One of the authors of MyDD wrote a piece that makes an excellent point about the trouble with focusing on presidential approval ratings. While a sitting president will always have the support of hardcore partisans (I've recently heard some talkers putting the magic number at about 29%), the real issue is more properly how many of the other seventy percent of the public actively disapproves of a sitting president.

I do have something of an ulterior motive for pointing out this self-evident fact-- when you look at approval ratings, there are points when Clinton, Carter, Nixon, Reagan, Johnson, Bush I and Truman had lower approval ratings. So he's not doing all that bad, right? Every president has a rough patch, especially two-termers.

Not so fast. When you look at disapproval ratings, Bush II really is making history. Truman beats him, but history has largely vindicated him. Nixon beats him, and he stands as the most reviled president in history. And he's tied with his own father for number three on the list.