PRINCETON, NJ -- President Obama's job approval rating dipped to 44% for the week of Aug. 9-15, the lowest weekly average of his administration by one percentage point.
The drop in Obama's weekly average was driven by particularly low ratings near the end of the week, with record-low three-day rolling averages of 42% for Aug. 12-14 and Aug. 13-15 polling. Prior to this weekend, Obama's three-day low had been 44%. Additionally, Obama's disapproval rating reached 50% for the first time in the Aug. 13-15 average.
The president visited Florida's Gulf Coast over the weekend as part of a vacation with his family, while his comments about the construction of a mosque near ground zero in New York City became a much-debated topic in the news media and on the Internet. As is usually the case, the impact of these or other news events on the president's approval ratings is difficult to disentangle.
The overall pattern of Obama's job approval ratings within partisan groups is fairly stable. The 68-point difference between Democrats' and Republicans' approval ratings for Aug. 9-15 is in line with what has been the case for many weeks, while his 39% approval among independents is down slightly from the past several weeks.
Obama's ratings in the low 40% range are not unusual in historical context. All presidents since Lyndon Johnson have suffered ratings below 40% at points in their presidencies, with several falling below 30%. Presidents Carter, Reagan, and Clinton were -- like Obama -- in the low 40% range during August of the second year of their presidencies. President George W. Bush left office in January 2009 with a 34% approval rating.
A president's job approval ratings are related to his party's success in midterm elections. Presidents with ratings below 50% have seen their party lose 36 seats on average in midterm House elections -- with a range of 11 to 55 seats lost. A continuation of Obama's current pattern of approval ratings well below 50% would not bode well for the Democrats this fall.
Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of Gallup Daily tracking survey Aug. 9-15, 2010, with a random sample of 3,672 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, selected using random-digit-dial sampling.
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 landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each daily sample includes a minimum quota of 150 cell phone respondents and 850 landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents for gender within region. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.
Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, cell phone-only status, cell phone-mostly status, and phone lines. Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2009 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.
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.
For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit http://www.gallup.com/.