How Barack Obama Went From 68% Approval To 38% To 58% To 39% To 44%

Despite his overwhelming success in the 2008 and 2012 elections, President Barack Obama hasn’t always been the most popular at the polls.

Gallup has tracked his approval rating since he took office, and although he was well-recieved early on in his presidency, the past few years have been met with less-than-promising responses for the 44th president.

Here are some of his best and worst stretches on Gallup’s poll:

April 30, 2009 — May 2, 2009: 68%

Obama had maintained a solid approval rating throughout his early months, but he hit a peak in the beginning of May 2009 with a 68% approval rating. That was just after Congress passed a budget resolution reflecting Obama’s desire to increase spending for healthcare and education.

Gallup has noted that presidents tend to have high approval ratings early in their terms but acknowledged that Obama seemed to be improving on his “honeymoon” ratings in the spring of 2009.

May 2, 2011 — May 4, 2011: 52%

After sitting at 42% between April 25 and April 27, Obama saw a steep 10% rise in his approval rating just a few days later. This poll was conducted in the immediate aftermath of the death of Osama bin Laden.

Obama got to be the president who could take credit for the operation as he now famously exclaimed “We got him!” after hearing news of bin Laden’s death.

May 22, 2011 — May 24, 2011: 53%

This poll was conducted during the May 2011 tornado outbreak, where powerful tornadoes tore apart the midwest causing billions in damage, with the deadliest funnel touching down in Joplin, Missouri. The Joplin tornado caused $US3 billion in damage and led to the largest insurance payout in Missouri history. During this time of disaster, the president saw his approval rating improve.

During natural disasters, presidents are judged based on how quickly and thoroughly they respond in the few days after the event. Obama pledged maximum federal help, in addition to making appearances in Joplin as well as other areas impacted by the May string of deadly tornadoes.

Aug. 20, 2011 — Aug. 22, 2011: 38%

Ah, the lowest of the lows. The president reached his low point on Gallup’s poll for the first time between Aug. 20 and Aug. 22 of 2011.

These low ratings came as the president announced more relaxed laws involving illegal immigrants, with the administration stating it would no longer seek to deport undocumented immigrants who don’t have any criminal record.

It was also a time of international turmoil, as Israel and Hamas engaged in a five-day stretch of rocket launches, more than 600 people were killed in the South Sudan, and President Obama called on then-Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi to relinquish power as his government was on the verge of collapse.

Oct. 15, 2011 — Oct. 17, 2011: 38%

Another low point in Obama’s approval rating came as his $US447 billion jobs bill failed to advance in the Senate.

Just a few days later was one of the largest Occupy Wall Street protests, where 6,000 people demonstrated in Times Square for a “global day of action against Wall Street greed,” according to Bloomberg.

Dec. 18, 2012 — Dec. 21, 2012: 58%

The president’s highest approval rating over the past two years occurred as he was named Time’s Person of the Year. This approval rating also occurred in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, when the president’s stance on gun regulation was as popular as it had ever been.

Nov. 21, 2013 — Nov. 23, 2013: 39%

Obama’s approval dipped below 40% in late November last year in the weeks after the problem-plagued rollout of the Affordable Care Act website

Also, word got out that the U.S. had been snooping on Netherlands since 1946, adding fuel to the never-ending saga involving the NSA.

March 12, 2014 — March 14, 2014: 39%

The developing disaster involving Crimea and the increased Russian presence in the area was grabbing headlines around the world and possibly playing a role in the president’s abysmal approval ratings. That month, the Associated Press reported that some Republicans thought Obama’s economic sanctions against Russia were too weak.

July 12, 2014 — July 14, 2014: 44%

Although President Obama was recently voted the worst president since World War II in a Quinnipiac University poll, his numbers in the Gallup tracker have actually improved over the past couple of weeks.

The bump in his approval rating came after a strong jobs report came out earlier this month. The U.S. added 288,000 jobs in June and 1.4 million jobs for the first half of the year — the strongest six-month stretch of job growth since 2006, according to CNN Money. Unemployment also went from 6.3% in May to 6.1% for June.

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