A rhetorical question that was apocryphal a mere year ago, has emerged as a very realistic option: is Barack Obama the second coming of Dubya? Policy initiatives aside, in this case we simply look at the plunging popularity ranking of both presidents in their second term as shown on the chart below.
Driven primary by the horrifying rollout of Obamacare in the aftermath of the government shutdown distraction (whose stated motive ironically was the delay of Obamacare which one can imagine is precisely what Obama wishes would happen right now), the Real Clear Politics popularity tracker shows that as of the latest week, the president Disapproval rating has risen to a record high, coupled with a record drop in his approval rating:
This is what a recent Pew study had to say:
In contrast, the two prior presidents who won reelection – Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan – enjoyed positive ratings over the course of the next year. At comparable points in their fifth year in office, 58% approved of Clinton’s job performance while Reagan’s job rating stood at 62%.
The new survey finds that majorities disapprove of the way Obama is handling four of five issues tested, with terrorism the lone exception (51% approve, 44% disapprove). For every issue, including terrorism, his ratings are lower than they were earlier this year.
Obama’s job ratings on the economy have been more negative than positive for more than four years, but the current measure is the worst of his presidency. Just 31% approve of the way Obama is handling the economy, while 65% disapprove.
Only about one-in-five independents (21%) give Obama positive marks on the economy, while 75% disapprove. About a third of Democrats (34%) disapprove of the way Obama is handling the economy (64% approve).
Obama also gets negative ratings on health care policy (37% approve, 59% disapprove). In January, views of Obama’s handling of health care policy were mixed (45% approved, 47% disapproved).
The administration has come under intense criticism for the flawed roll-out of the Affordable Care Act. In a recent interview with NBC News, Obama apologized to those who have lost their health insurance under the law, despite his assurances that they would be able to stay on their plans.
Only about a third of the public (32%) approves of the job Obama is doing on immigration policy; 60% disapprove. Obama’s ratings for this issue among Democrats are mixed: About half (53%) approve of his handling of the issue while 42% disapprove.
Finally, as Bloomberg Bloomberg News Political Analyst Matthew Dowd discusses in observing that the "campaigner in chief" may not have been the governor in chief so many expected, "when presidents drop this low in their second term, they have never recovered."
So as a result of a rushed rollout to cement his sterling legacy, has Obama instead doomed himself in the history books to be the second coming of Dubya?
It remains to be seen: Obama still has three more years and thus enough opportunity to make his predecessor truly shine in retrospect.