Poll: Obama as polarizing as Bush

Jan. 24, 2013 at 2:14 PM
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PRINCETON, N.J., Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Americans are as politically divided after four years of Barack Obama's presidency as they were after George W. Bush's first term, a Gallup Poll found.

The split between Obama's approval ratings among Democrats and Republicans in 2012, his fourth year in office, was 76 percentage points, matching the split in George W. Bush's fourth year, a Gallup Poll released Thursday said.

Obama had an average 86 percent approval rating in his own party and only 10 percent among Republicans during 2012, while 91 percent of Republicans and only 15 percent of Democrats liked Bush in 2004.

Bush averaged an approval gap of 61 points during eight years in office, Gallup said. Obama's average gap so far is 70 points.

"Both Obama and his predecessor, George W. Bush, have made overtures toward bringing Americans together," Gallup analyst Jeffrey Jones said. "The reality is that under both of their presidencies, Americans have been more politically divided than ever before. It is not clear how much of that is due to their governing styles and how much is just a reflection on how Americans approach politics and the presidency these days."

President Dwight Eisenhower's approval gap averaged 45 points in the 1950s and President Richard Nixon's gap in the late '60s and early '70s was 44 points. Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton both averaged about 60 points.

The president with the smallest approval gap, at 29 points, was Jimmy Carter, mostly because fewer Democrats, 53 percent, approved of his performance.

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