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At 100 Days, Obama Approval Broad as Well as Deep

At 100 Days, Obama Approval Broad as Well as Deep

PRINCETON, NJ -- As President Barack Obama concludes his first 100 days on the job, Gallup Poll Daily tracking for the week of April 20-26 finds 65% of Americans approving of how he is doing and only 29% disapproving. Obama's average weekly job ratings have varied only slightly thus far, ranging from 61% to 67%.


The new president's approval rating at the 100-day mark is notable in that nearly all major demographic categories of Americans are pleased with his job performance, as evidenced by approval ratings above the majority level. Only in terms of political and ideological categories does Obama have a significant proportion of detractors; a majority of Republicans and self-described "conservatives" disapprove of his job performance.

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Obama's strongest backers are blacks, with 96% saying they approve of the job he is doing. However, Hispanics are nearly as supportive, with 85% approving. Approval is a much lower 57% among whites -- but still a solid majority.


Obama generates little in the way of a gender gap, with nearly as many men as women approving of the job he is doing, 62% vs. 67%.

Income-Based Approval

Some of the biggest differences in views about Obama are seen according to household income. Whereas 76% of those earning less than $24,000 per year approve of how he is doing, this falls to around 60% for those with higher incomes, including just 57% among those earning between $60,000 and $89,999 per year.


While approval of Obama has been consistently high among the lowest income group, it has dropped slightly among those with higher incomes since Obama's first week in office, including by a fairly sharp 12-point decline, to date, among those earning $60,000 to $89,999. An even steeper decline was seen in mid- to late March among the highest-income Americans (those earning at least $90,000), but the views of this group have rebounded somewhat, along with the stock-market-driven uptick in consumer confidence over the past month.

Still, the overall trend is one of a widening income gap in perceptions of Obama. It could be important to monitor this in the coming months as an indicator of how well Obama's economic policies are playing across the income spectrum.

Most Young Adults, Postgrads, and Easterners Boost Obama

Gallup also finds significant spreads in approval of Obama by age, education, and region of the country -- similar to the patterns of support for Obama in presidential voting last year, although solid majorities of all categories within these groups approve.

Three-quarters of Americans aged 18 to 29 approve of the overall job Obama is doing, versus 60% of those 65 and older, with middle-aged Americans falling somewhere between the two.


Approval of Obama as president is highest among those with the most and least educational experience -- postgraduates and those with no college background -- and lowest among Americans with moderate education levels.


On a regional basis, approval of Obama today is the highest in the East.


A Modest Religion Gap

During the 2008 presidential election between Obama and Republican John McCain, Gallup found a 20 percentage-point difference in likely voters' support for Obama between weekly church attenders and those who seldom or never attend church. According to Gallup Daily tracking right before the election, 61% of infrequent church attenders supported Obama, compared with only 41% of weekly attenders. However, since Obama became president, a solid majority of weekly church attenders have said they approve of the job he is doing. At the 100-day mark, that figure is 57%, compared with 69% of infrequent churchgoers.

Bottom Line

Obama's weekly job approval ratings in the Gallup Poll have been running at 61% or better since he took office, and register 65% at the conclusion of his first 100 days. According to a recent Gallup review of the average first-quarter approval ratings of all elected presidents since Dwight Eisenhower in 1953, Obama's mid-60s approval level is solidly positive, although not extraordinary in historical terms.

Obama is well-reviewed by a majority of most major demographic and political groups within the U.S. adult population. Blacks, Democrats, and liberals all give him understandably high ratings. Aside from these groups, Obama's highest marks -- registering better than 70% approval -- come from Hispanics, adults living in low-income households, residents of the East, young adults (aged 18 to 29), and Americans with postgraduate educations.

Survey Methods

The latest weekly results are based on a telephone interviews with 3,534 national adults, conducted April 20-26, 2009, as part of Gallup Poll Daily tracking. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±2 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.

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