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Study Notes

Presidential Approval Ratings

AQA, Edexcel, OCR

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

Presidential approval ratings have been kept officially by the polling organisation Gallup since around 1930. They are a good measure of a President's popularity during a term, especially when there are no midterms or elections in the calendar. When asking the question, polling companies will typically ask 'Where a person approves or disapproves of the way in which the President is handling their job'. Normally, President's have high approval ratings when they enter office and these are reduced by the time they leave. Boosts to the ratings will occur during times of national crisis, whereby the President is seen to be leading from the front and has handled the situation well.

How does Obama compare with other Presidents

The Gallup website contains many of the historical polls which you could browse at your leisure, but included below are some of the more contemporary Presidents. It would look good in exams if you could include examples of approval ratings next to Presidential action, certainly when talking about the power of the President and how it ebbs and flows.

Barack Obama Approval Ratings
George W Bush Approval Ratings
Bill Clinton Approval Ratings

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