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Obama Job Approval Up to Average 49.5% in 29th Quarter

Obama Job Approval Up to Average 49.5% in 29th Quarter

Chart: data points are described in article

Story Highlights

  • Approval ratings averaged nearly three points higher than 28th quarter
  • Democrats, independents more likely to approve of Obama
  • Obama's 29th quarter average similar to Reagan's 29th

PRINCETON, N.J. -- President Barack Obama averaged 49.5% job approval in Gallup Daily tracking from Jan. 20 through April 19, his 29th quarter in office. That is nearly three percentage points higher than his 28th quarter average of 46.6%, and one of the higher quarterly averages in his presidency to date.

Trend: President Barack Obama's Quarterly Job Approval Averages

The nearly three-point increase from the previous quarter is one of the larger quarter-to-quarter gains for Obama during his presidency; the best to date was a four-point improvement between his 15th and 16th quarters, the period surrounding his re-election as president in the fall of 2012.

Obama's 29th quarter approval average ranks as the second-best quarter in his second term as president, behind a 49.7% average from Jan. 20-April 19, 2013, after Obama's second inauguration. He has had only six higher quarterly averages in his seven-plus years as president.

Obama's job approval rating averaged 50% or higher for six consecutive weeks from Feb. 29 through April 10, including an average 53% approval rating the week of March 21-27, his best since Jan. 28-Feb. 3, 2013. Most of the president's more recent three-day approval ratings have been just below 50%, but the latest Gallup Daily tracking estimate, for April 17-19, is 51%.

Democrats and independents led the improvement in the president's job approval ratings during his 29th quarter. Democrats' approval ratings of the president increased from 84% to 86%, while independents' went up from 43% to 47%. Republicans' ratings remained low and were essentially unchanged.

Change in President Barack Obama's Job Approval Ratings, 28th to 29th Quarter, by Political Party
  Quarter 28% Quarter 29% Changepct. pts.
Democrats 83.6 86.1 +2.5
Independents 43.3 47.2 +3.9
Republicans 9.6 10.2 +0.6
Gallup Daily tracking

The increase came as both parties are in the process of choosing their party's nominee to be Obama's successor. In this time of heightened political attention, there is more focus on the state of the nation and Obama's record as president, which some Democrats and independents may now be viewing more positively.

Obama, Reagan Near 50% Approval in 29th Quarter

Obama is the sixth president since World War II to serve 29 quarters in office, joining Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Clinton and Eisenhower were the two most popular at this stage of their presidencies, as both had job approval ratings above 60%. Reagan, like Obama, was right around the 50% mark. Truman and Bush were highly unpopular, with approval ratings near 30%, as the nation dealt with economic problems and prolonged and increasingly unpopular U.S. wars in Korea and Iraq.

Average Presidential Job Approval Ratings During 29th Quarter in Office, Gallup Polls
  President Dates of 29th quarter Average approval rating Number of polls
  Truman Apr 20-Jul 19, 1952 29.8 4
  Eisenhower Jan 20-Apr 19, 1960 64.3 3
  Reagan Jan 20-Apr 19, 1988 50.0 4
  Clinton Jan 20-Apr 19, 2000 61.0 7
  G.W. Bush Jan 20-Apr 19, 2008 31.3 8
  Obama Jan 20-Apr 19, 2016 49.5 89

Obama might not expect his job approval rating to improve further in his 30th quarter if history is a guide. To date, Truman is the only president thus far who saw improvement in his ratings during his 30th quarter, although Truman's 30th quarter ratings were still historically low at 32%. Eisenhower, Clinton and Bush all had declines of between two and five percentage points in their 30th quarters, while Reagan's job approval ratings were stable.


Obama's job approval ratings have been some of the most politically polarized of any post-World War II president, and that polarization has held his ratings down. He has averaged 47% job approval to date over his seven-plus years in office. Aside from higher approval during his "honeymoon period" in early 2009, Obama's ratings have held above the 50% level for only brief periods, including the time just before and after his re-election and the recent stretch in March and early April.

As Americans look to choose Obama's successor and decide whether they generally want to continue with the policy course he has set or change the nation's direction, the public will naturally reflect on how he has done as president. Obama and the Democrats hope his approval ratings will increase between now and the election, to help the Democratic Party's efforts to accomplish the rare modern feat of winning three consecutive presidential elections.

These data are available in Gallup Analytics.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Jan. 20-April 19, 2016, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 45,221 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 60% cellphone respondents and 40% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

Learn more about how the Gallup U.S. Daily works.

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