Washington: US President Barack Obama will leave office on Friday with his highest approval rating since first year in office, his presidency largely viewed as a success and a majority saying they will miss him when he is gone, according to a new poll.
A CNN/ORC poll has found that Obama’s approval rating stands at 60 per cent, his best mark since June of his first year in office.
Compared with other outgoing presidents, Obama lands near the top of the list, outranked only by Bill Clinton’s 66 per cent in January 2001 and Ronald Reagan’s 64 per cent in January 1989.
About two-thirds (65 per cent) say Obama’s presidency was a success, including about half (49 per cent) who say that was due to Obama’s personal strengths rather than circumstances outside his control.
Amid those glowing reviews, one-quarter of Americans (25 per cent) say Obama is one of the nation’s greatest presidents, far outpacing the share who felt that way about other recent presidents as their terms ended (11 per cent described Reagan that way, 10 per cent Clinton, and 5 per cent or fewer said so about either President Bush).
Still, nearly as many (23 per cent) call Obama a poor president, more than said so about Reagan, Clinton or the first president Bush, but well below the 46 per cent who said George W Bush was a poor president as he prepared to leave the White House.
That assessment of Obama’s presidency, as well as his approval ratings, are marked by sharp partisan divides. While 54 per cent of Democrats consider Obama one of the greatest presidents, 54 per cent of Republicans call him a poor president.
Though he has earned near universal approval among Democrats (95 per cent approve), just 18 per cent of Republicans say they approve of how he handled the presidency.
That gap explains the difference between Obama’s approval rating and those of the two former presidents who left office with higher marks.
Looking back at the critical issues of the Obama years, Americans give the President positive ratings for handling several issues that were central to his first run for office — the economy, foreign affairs and race relations among them.
Obama’s time comes to an end with 50 per cent saying things in the country are generally going well while 50 per cent saying that they are going poorly.
That is a sharp increase compared with the start of Obama’s time in office. In early 2009, in the midst of an economic crisis, just 21 per cent said things in the country were heading the right way, that rose to 49 per cent by the time of Obama’s second inauguration, and peaked at 54 per cent just before last year’s election.
Obama’s favourability rating stands at 63 per cent, among the best for recent presidents and his highest since summer 2009. First lady Michelle Obama scores a 69 per cent favourability rating, her highest mark since 2012, matching her favorability rating in January 2009 just ahead of Obama’s first inauguration.