All Honeymoons End

01.31.13

Obama's Approval Rating Explained

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images ()

One obvious explanation for the president's January surge: the familiar "rally to the winner" effect. George W. Bush's Gallup approval rating spiked to 57% in the first week of February 2005, boosted by his second inaugural and the first Iraqi elections.

Bill Clinton, who won re-election in 1996 with a shade under 50% of the vote, touched 60% at the beginning of February of 1997.

In that sense, then, there's nothing very surprising about President Obama's post-election number. And nothing very predictive either: it might stay high (as Bill Clinton's did) or plunge lower (as George W. Bush's did) depending on events to come in the months ahead.

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