The Rise and Fall of Presidents

With the falling approval ratings for George Bush published almost every month seem to signify a failing presidency, the following chart of Presidential approval ratings [source: WSJ] from the early 50s makes for interesting observations:

presidential approval ratings

The first thing that you notice is that Bush’s low approval ratings aren’t the lowest that this country has seen. Truman and Nixon had much lower ratings during their term. But as Kottke notes, in spite of the vilifying, Clinton remains the only President who left with a higher approval rating than he came in with. Even Reagan, the Republican darling and the much-loved Kennedy left office [death in case of JFK] with a lower rating as compared to Clinton.

Both Bushes experienced a surge in popularity following military action only to squander it away thanks to their domestic policies. You can notice the steep slide in Bush’s ratings following the War in Afghanistan post 9/11. Trust Dubya to not only squander global goodwill but also rank abysmally low in domestic ratings and that after a deliberate campaign to market news in his favor. Guess he didn’t learn much from his father’s experience.

Hit the Next button here [or the navigation to the left] to look at each President’s term and their subsequent rise and fall in approval ratings. Incumbency can be such a bitch, eh?



  • http://mavericksmusing.blogspot.com Sakshi

    Well, Dubya has not joined the Truman-Nixon rank yet. He has some tangible goal to set his eyes on. It is a more achievable goal for him :)

  • http://www.ipatrix.com Patrix

    Sakshi, clearly Dubya has 1.5 years still left so that 20% approval rating is not beyond reach. BTW who the heck were those 20+% people who still continued to ‘approve’ of Nixon after he resigned?

  • http://uberdesi.com Santosh

    BTW who the heck were those 20 % people who still continued to ‘approve’ of Nixon after he resigned?

    Same set of people who still approve Dubya?

  • http://www.ipatrix.com Patrix

    Santosh, I guess some people never change :)