Popularity Counts

Look at President Bush. His popularity is so low that he’s got no sway with his own party in Congress.

He’s not the first president to see this kind of popularity deficit. According to the American Presidency Project, four presidents since 1941 have suffered long bouts of low (< 34%) approval ratings:

  • George W. Bush – 8 months, February-September 2008 – prolonged war + bad economy
  • Jimmy Carter – 6 months, May-October of 1979 – prolonged hostage crisis + bad economy
  • Richard M. Nixon – 11 months, September 1973-July 1974 – prolonged scandal + bad economy
  • Harry S. Truman – 25 months, December 1950-December 1952 – prolonged war + bad economy
  • We The People don’t really ask for much from our Presidents:

    1. Mind the economy.
    2. Keep our foreign conflicts (or your scandals) short.

    And if you don’t follow those simple rules, your party will pay:

  • Truman, a Democrat, was followed by Eisenhower, a Republican.
  • Nixon’s Republican successor, Gerald Ford, lost to Carter, a Democrat.
  • Carter, a Democrat, was followed by Reagan, a Republican.
  • Now you see why McCain has to be a maverick? That’s his best chance at getting a safe distance from Bush’s toxic coattails.

    But the real question is, which candidate can address the economy and the foreign conflicts, the key presidential popularity metrics?

    I have to agree with Glinda in Wicked, the musical. It’s all about popular.

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