PRINCETON, NJ -- In Gallup Daily tracking that spans Barack Obama's third quarter in office (July 20 through Oct. 19), the president averaged a 53% job approval rating. That is down sharply from his prior quarterly averages, which were both above 60%.
In fact, the 9-point drop in the most recent quarter is the largest Gallup has ever measured for an elected president between the second and third quarters of his term, dating back to 1953. One president who was not elected to his first term -- Harry Truman -- had a 13-point drop between his second and third quarters in office in 1945 and 1946.
The dominant political focus for Obama in the third quarter was the push for healthcare reform, including his nationally televised address to Congress in early September. Obama hoped that Congress would vote on healthcare legislation before its August recess, but that goal was missed, and some members of Congress faced angry constituents at town hall meetings to discuss healthcare reform. Meanwhile, unemployment continued to climb near 10%. The high point of Obama's third quarter may have been his winning of the Nobel Peace Prize during the quarter, which led to a noticeable but very brief bump in support.
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