How Do You Like Him Now? President Obama To Leave Office With Historically High Approval Ratings
President Obama approaches his last day in office hitting very high approval ratings as he finishes his second and last term as POTUS; in fact his 60% approval rating is the highest that he has enjoyed since 2009. Rated among all Presidents since World War II, President Obama ranks third overall behind President Clinton (66%) and President Reagan (63%) in high approval ratings as they left office.
President Obama’s popularity as he leaves office is perhaps a more remarkable achievement than his predecessors because his Presidency took place during an unprecedented era of staunch partisanship, driven by an unprecedented period of 24/7 partisan news channels, blogs, social media, political pundits, and partisan talk radio. So the question is, why is President Barack Obama so popular as he finishes his last term when many American still disagreed with his politics?
Part of it likely has to do with the fact that we have just finished a campaign that involved the two most unpopular and unlikable presidential nominees in history. President Obama comes off as both possessing a steady temperament and is not personally corrupted, while Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton collectively represent the complete antithesis of these traits.
President Obama had a scandal-free presidency, was clear from personal controversy, conflicts of interest, and scandal. Beyond that, the majority of the country views President Obama as a good person. He has always publicly exhibited a sincere and fierce devotion to his wife and daughters. His wife will exit the White House as the most popular and well liked First Ladies since Jackie Kennedy.
Perhaps more importantly than anything else, while many Americans may not have agreed with the policies of President Obama, citizens of the United States watched him have the country of his birth and US citizenship called into question and be attacked relentlessly by the right (even having a Republican US Congressman yell “You Lie!” during a State of the Union address), while always maintaining a public decor and calm about him that projected the image of him possessing both an unflappable constitution and high level of class.
There is also the Trump effect that President Obama may be benefitting from as he prepares to leave office. The record low unpopularity of the President Elect who quite oppositely has shattered all ethical, rhetorical and temperamental standards for the Presidency throughout his campaign and transition, has inevitably caused some American to positively reflect on the outgoing President.