obamaIn the lead-up to President Obama's second inauguration, the media's taking a microscope to his approval rating. According to a New York Times/CBS News poll released today, 51 percent of just about 1K Americans surveyed between January 11-15 approve of how the prez is handling his job. By comparison, 41 percent disapprove. So, okay ... Doesn't sound necessarily very good or very bad, right? 

But to figure out where our POTUS really stands, it helps to compare these approval numbers next to other presidents' as they were entering their second-term. Not to mention considering the circumstances that may be contributing to his "progress report," so to speak ...  

So, according to Marjorie Connelly in the Times, Obama's current rating is actually quite similar to George W. Bush's at the start of his second term. But it's definitely lower than the ratings of the previous two presidents who served eight years. For example, Bill Clinton was at 60 percent approval in January 1997 and Ronald Reagan was at 62 percent in 1985.

Still, shouldn't we consider what those presidents -- and the country as a whole -- were facing at those times? For Clinton, the economy had improved significantly since he had first taken office, and for Reagan, the same was true. But no president has ever or could ever act alone to get that done. And Obama has faced an uphill battle with Republicans in Congress since Day 1.

Also, it seems to bear noting that while 8 in 10 Dems approve of Obama's job performance, 8 in 10 Republicans disapprove. In other words, it seems to me like we continue to be more divided than ever before. And that's not something you can necessarily blame on the Commander-in-Chief. It's about where we stand on the most polarizing issues as Americans. And sadly, our president's handling of our current challenges appears to be another one of those issues.

How do you feel about Obama's current approval rating vs. past presidents'?

 

Image via Daniel Borman/Flickr