President Obama is unexpectedly popular: Gallup poll
A new Washington Post/ABC News poll pegs President Obama’s approval rating at an astonishing 58 percent , his highest marks since 2009, and that should be good news for the Democrat vying to replace him, Hillary Clinton. But it certainly doesn’t guarantee a Clinton victory in November, says Gallup’s Lydia Saad .
In Gallup’s polling, Obama’s approval rating is a healthy 51 percent, but while similarly high approval ratings for Ronald Reagan probably boosted George H.W. Bush in his 1988 victory, “two second-term presidents with even higher job approval ratings — Bill Clinton in 2000 and Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1960 — each saw their party’s candidate lose the election,” Saad notes.
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The metrics pollsters use to predict an incumbent’s chances for re-election — approval rating, satisfaction with the direction of the country, and feelings about the economy — don’t seem to work for non-incumbent elections.
The main spoiler seems to be 2000, when Clinton was popular, the economy was booming, and Al Gore lost (though the 2000 election “requires a footnote because Gore won the popular vote by 0.5 percent but ended up losing the Electoral College,” Saad says).
But it’s also true that the president’s party has lost four of the last five open presidential races, suggesting the public likes change after eight years. Or Clinton could have a leg up because she has a higher favorability rating than Donald Trump.