James Joyner has written a post on the occasion of President Obama’s reaching the lowest approval rating of his presidency in the most recent polls:
A majority of Americans now disapprove of President Obama’s performance and a whopping 70 percent think the country is moving in the wrong direction.
For a longer term view of the president’s approval see here. What follows is a longish comment I left on that post.
More important than the single lowest point is that the president’s approval numbers have been going in the wrong way since the end of last year. That’s the longest such period since the post-honeymoon decline at the beginning of his presidency.
Among post-war presidents his approval rating is only better than Johnson’s, Nixon’s and Geoge W. Bush’s at this point in his presidency. That’s not an enviable company. It’s .6% better than George W. Bush’s and .5% worse than Harry Truman’s. He’s not in impeachment territory but he’s not in “advancing his agenda” territory, either.
The parties of presidents with that low an approval rating in the 19th quarter of their presidencies do not tend to do well in the midterm elections of the next year. In every single case in the post-war period (including Truman) with the president’s approval that low the president’s party has lost seats both in the House and the Senate.
House districts are now more, shall we say, sorted than they were in the 1950s, 60s, or 70s so I wouldn’t expect big turnovers there. The much larger question is what is the president’s approval rating in states that have Senate elections in 2014? That’s where the real potential for trouble for the Democrats will be.
Barack Obama has triumphed over the odds before so it would be foolish to count him out now. Anyone who believes that the Democrats will take the House and hold the Senate is banking on his bucking the odds again. IMO it’s much more likely that the Republicans will increase their control of the House slightly and take the Senate with a very narrow majority.