Opinions of Obama Follow 2008 Election Results
Editor's note: this is a guest post by Alan Abramowitz, Alben W. Barkley Professor of Political Science at Emory University, and a member of the TDS Advisory Board.
Political observers follow presidential approval ratings obsessively and often interpret them in terms of the daily drama of this or that issue or trend. But amidst much speculation about the stability of Barack Obama's base of support, it's useful to compare his approval ratings in various demographic groups with their support for him last November.
An examination of recent Gallup Poll data shows that Americans’ opinions about the job Barack Obama is doing as president closely mirror the results of the 2008 election. The President's 58% approval rating in the July 6-12 Gallup Poll is slightly higher than the 53% share of the vote that he received last November, but his approval rating among various demographic groups correlates almost perfectly with his vote share among the same groups.
The following figure shows the relationship between Obama’s 2008 vote share in 24 demographic groups and his current approval rating in the same groups: the correlation between the two is a near perfect .99.
The implication of these results is that when it comes to opinions about the President, little has changed in the past eight months. Despite the continued weakness of the economy and the steady drumbeat of attacks on the President’s policies from the right, the coalition of groups that put him in office last November remains solidly behind him today.