PRINCETON, NJ -- For his seventh full year in office, beginning Jan. 20, 2007, and ending Jan. 19, 2008, George W. Bush averaged a 33.3% job approval rating. That is down from a 37.3% average for his sixth year in office, and is the lowest of his presidency. It is also one of the lowest for a president since Gallup regularly began tracking presidential job approval in 1945.
After receiving very strong approval ratings for his first two years in office, fueled by strong public support following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Bush's approval ratings have shown consistent decline. His yearly approval average has now fallen in each of the last five years of his presidency, and has dropped a total of 38 points from where it was during his second year in office.
Only Richard Nixon (January to August 1974, when he resigned because of the Watergate scandal) and Harry Truman (January 1951 to January 1952, and January 1952 to January 1953) had lower approval rating averages for a year in office than Bush's most recent year.
Only four other presidents have served a seventh year in office since World War II. Truman, like Bush, had very low approval ratings during his seventh year. In contrast, Dwight Eisenhower and Bill Clinton were quite popular, with approval ratings above 60%. Ronald Reagan fell in between the two extremes.
Bush's most recently quarterly average, for the time between Oct. 20 and Jan. 19, is 33.1%, essentially the same as in the prior quarter's 33.2%. His worst quarter to date was the quarter before that, when he averaged 31.8% approval. Bush's five most recent quarters rank in the bottom 10% of all quarters for which Gallup has data, going back to the Truman administration.
In the most recent USA Today/Gallup poll, 34% of Americans approve and 60% disapprove of the job Bush is doing as president. Bush has not had a job approval rating above 40% since September 2006, and has not had a rating above 50% since very early in his second term (March 2005).
Bush averaged 62.2% approval for his first four years in office, one of the better term averages since World War II. His average approval rating in his second term so far is 38.8%, which would be one of the worst.
The current results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 2,010 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Jan. 10-13, 2008. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is ±3 percentage points.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones (for respondents with a land-line telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell-phone only).
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.