Polarization on Obama
Gallup reported this morning that Obama’s ratings are historically polarized. In the 60 years gallup has measured presidents’ approval and disapproval, Obama has received consistently higher approval from Democrats and consistently higher disapproval from Republicans over the course of his presidency.
A couple things about these figures. First, when you ask a question with only three available responses (approve, disapprove, and don’t know/no opinion), you tend to find more polarization than there actually is. There is a whole range from somewhat approve to somewhat disapprove that isn’t captured. Second, it’s more likely the fault of the political environment than Obama alone. As the article reports, polarization on presidential approval goes back to at least Reagan (though H.W. Bush approval wasn’t as polarized). And third, the drop in partisan identification in recent years we may have an affect on the trend. As more “moderate” identifiers become independents, a greater concetration of ideologically extreme individuals may influence the numbers. Regardless, more evidence for the media’s polarization frenzy.