Obama's Standing with the Public

What does the latest CNN poll, showing that Barack Obama's approval rating fell eight percentage points in a month and that less than half the public believe he is honest and trustworthy, mean?  Less, for now, than some conservatives wish.  Most presidents' approval ratings follow a pattern.  When first in office, a president has high levels of public approval.  (Ronald Reagan, both Bushes, and, to a lesser extent, Bill Clinton are exceptions, but their approval ratings soared soon after they took office.)  Then, as time passes -- save for spikes in public approval immediately after a dramatic event such as 9/11 ("rally events") -- a president's standing with the public ebbs.  Most presidents leave office less "popular" than when they entered. Public opinion researchers call this phenomenon "a coalition of minorities."  To illustrate, if "President Smith" makes a policy choice in favor of X, people who strongly favor Not X and become aware of...(Read Full Article)

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