Saturday, September 03, 2005

Presidential Approval in Perspective

Presidential Approval in Perspective-- All Gallup Polls since 1936Posted by Picasa

This graph represents every Gallup poll since 1936 that has asked presidential approval. (The first rating for FDR was taken 8/4-9/37. The question text is "Do you approve or disapprove of the way (president's name) is handling his job as president?"

This graph is designed to make comparisons across presidents clear. Time in office is scaled in the same way regardless of how long a president actually served. Failure to do this (which is common) distorts the trend lines by stretching out shorter term presidents while compressing those serving two full terms. By keeping the same scale for all presidents, the rate of change in approval is always comparable. Presidents who assumed office mid-way through their predecessor's term start their series at that point.

The vertical blue lines mark midterm and presidential elections, which are the natural "clocks" of politics.