New polling indicates that President Barack Obama is heading towards the home stretch of his second term with a higher approval rating than former President Ronald Reagan enjoyed at this stage of his presidency.
On Oct. 27, a new CNN/ORC poll found that 55 percent of respondents approved of President Obama’s job performance, CNN reports.
Approval for the outgoing president largely depended on party affiliation; the survey found that 93 percent of self-described Clinton supporters approved of Obama while 91 percent of Trump supporters disapproved of him.
Obama’s favorability is several ticks higher than President Reagan’s, who had an approval rating of 51 percent in October 1988.
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The recent survey also found that 54 percent of respondents believe that things in the U.S. are going well while 46 percent believe they are going badly. This perception also largely along partisan lines: 85 percent Democratic respondents and 51 percent of independent respondents are pleased with the direction of the country while only 21 percent of Republicans agree.
While conservatives may scoff at the idea that President Obama could go down as fondly remembered as Reagan, a September 2014 economic analysis conducted by Polaris Financial Partners found that Obama may have a demonstrably more positive impact on the U.S. economy than Reagan ever did.
“What’s now clear is that the Obama administration policies have outperformed the Reagan administration policies for job creation and unemployment reduction,” Polaris CEO Bob Deitrick told Forbes.
Deitrick contextualized his assessment based on the economies that both Reagan and Obama inherited. The Polaris CEO said that Obama had actually added more economic opportunity “even though Reagan had the benefit of a growing Boomer class to ignite economic growth, while Obama has been forced to deal with a retiring workforce developing special needs.”
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Deitrick concluded: “During the eight years preceding Obama there was a net reduction in jobs in America. We now are rapidly moving toward higher, sustainable jobs growth.”
While current data indicate that President Obama has a slightly higher approval rating than Reagan did during the late stages of their presidencies, it should be noted that Obama has previously praised the conservative icon.
In an op-ed for The New York Times, President Obama has described Reagan as a transformational commander-in-chief who had a much more dramatic impact on the U.S. than Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.
“[Reagan] tapped into what people were already feeling, which was, we want clarity, we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing,” Obama wrote.