Presidential polling

Presidential Approval Follows Similar Trends

A recent article by Pew Research demonstrates changes in presidential approval ratings from Eisenhower through today.

A recent article by Pew Research demonstrates changes in presidential approval ratings from Eisenhower through today.

Pew Research just released an overview of presidential job approval ratings from Eisenhower to Obama based on research conducted by Pew and Gallup from 1952 to 2015.

There were a few things that struck me as interesting in the data included in Pew Research’s article, For Presidents Day, a look at presidential job approval ratings from Ike to Obama.

  1. Approval ratings by party for each president changed in a similar fashion. Regardless of president or party, approval ratings went up and down at about the same rate and time for all 11 presidents.
  2. Approval ratings for nine of 11 presidents declined as their term in office drew to a close. The only exceptions were Carter and Reagan.
  3. Overall high and low approval ratings for Reagan and Obama are similar. Reagan’s high approval was 68 percent and low 35 percent compared to Obama’s high of 64 percent and low of 41 percent.
  4. The largest gap between high and low ratings were for the two Bushes, net 60 for George and net 64 for George W. Conversely, the smallest change from high to low were for Obama, net 23, and Kennedy, net 26.
  5. The fond memories of the Camelot Years of the Kennedy administration may be an illusion. Kennedy’s approval ratings were declining significantly during the months immediately prior to his assassination.

When released, Presidential approval ratings are interesting tidbits for coffee shops and cocktail parties. But a closer look at trends and comparisons yields surprising and unexpected results. You find substantive topics such as war, the economy, domestic strife, international relations and perhaps the favorite topic of all, scandal.

Cashing in on the Presidential Campaign

For a nation inured to political polls, it is refreshing to measure who is winning by the popularity of Halloween masks, chicken wing sales and bleacher seat preferences.

Take, for example, the Spirit Halloween Mark Presidential Index, which shows Barack Obama masks outselling Mitt Romney masks by nearly 2 to 1. Spirit Halloween CEO Steven Silverstein claims the index, run in conjunction with Rock the Vote and based on sales at its 1,000 stores nationwide, "has proven to be a consistent and accurate predictor of the next president for nearly two decades."

Then there is the Luster Premium White Study of Presidential Teeth. The oral care company explains, perhaps with a smile, in a press release that its analysis of pictures dating back to 1982, including adjustment for "ambient lighting and environmental conditions," has determined who has the brightest teeth and will win the presidency. Bill Clinton outshone George H.W. Bush and Bob Dole. George W. Bush sported brighter enamel than Al Gore and John Kerry. Barring 11th-hour dental work, Obama has the gleam over Romney.

Boston Market offers customers a choice between right and left chicken wing bowls. 

California Tortilla is sponsoring a Burrito Bowl Election contest pitting an Obama chicken teriyaki luau against a Romney Mexican mitt-loaf. The teriyaki luau is leading the mitt-loaf 52-48 percent.

7-Eleven give its customers a choice between red or blue coffee cups to signify their political sympathies and posts running totals on its website. For the politically indifferent, there are "non-partisan cups." Obama's blue cup is outpacing Romney's red cup by a 60-40 percent margin. You also can view local results. Obama leads Romney in Portland 64-36 percent, but Romney holds sway in Reedsport and Woodburn by 53-47 percent.

The Stockton Ports minor league baseball team staged a July 4 promotion involving bleacher cushions with Obama's face on one side and Romney's on the other. Fans were instructed to sit on the side they wanted to lose, then tweet their preference on either #SitonMitt or #BunsonObama. The team didn't report its findings, but did have a great firework show.