Historically, lame-duck presidents have received higher approval ratings in their last weeks in office than prior to the elections that chose their successors. George H.W. Bush (+22 points) and Ronald Reagan (+12) had the largest increases. George W. Bush’s rating has increased 4 points since the election.
Sixty-nine percent of Americans favor Barack Obama’s choice of Hillary Clinton for secretary of state and 80% approve of his decision to keep Robert Gates on as secretary of defense. More generally, 78% approve of the way Obama is handling his transition, a better rating than Bill Clinton or George W. Bush received.
George W. Bush averaged just 29.4% job approval for his 31st quarter in office, spanning July 20-Oct. 19. This is just slightly better than his 29.0% average rating in the prior quarter, but is still one of the worst Gallup has measured since 1945.