Recent public polling shows President Obama in nearly an identical place where President Bush was at this point in his second term, and far below where Presidents Reagan and Clinton found themselves at this point:


Given the high approval ratings for Presidents Reagan and Clinton in their second terms, it’s not surprising that there were few changes in the House in the 1986 and 1998 mid-term elections.

But after the summer of 2005, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Bush’s approval ratings dropped considerably, eventually helping deliver not just the House, but also the Senate to Democrats in the 2006 mid-term election.

While it’s unlikely Obama’s approval ratings will fall as low as his predecessor’s due to his sustained support among younger voters and African-American voters, his current level of support must be very concerning to Democratic candidates on the ballot in 2014.

One reason Obama’s approval ratings have fallen significantly since his re-election is that most Americans don’t believe he’ll be able to get much done in the remainder of his second term – which isn’t all that surprising given there haven’t  really been any second term accomplishments thus far.

In fact, a recent NBC/WSJ survey shows that a majority (53{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) says he won’t be able to get much done for the rest of his second term.  As you can see below, Obama’s numbers on this question more closely match his predecessor (Bush) than the last Democratic President (Clinton):


Bottom line – while nobody can truly predict where Obama’s approval rating will go after Labor Day and into next year, his recent approval ratings and voters’ view that he won’t be able to get much done the rest of his second term doesn’t bode well for Democrats looking to win seats in the House and maintain control of the Senate next year.

Public Opinion Strategies