As he approaches the 100-day mark of his presidency, Barack Obama’s job approval ratings are higher than those of his most recent predecessors. However, the 44th president is even more distinguished by his strong personal popularity.
A close look at reactions to Reagan's first few months in office provides striking parallels with what polls now find about opinions of Obama. And a consideration of the Reagan experience may well give some clues as to what lies ahead for the 44th president.
Obama continues to inspire confidence on economic matters, as majorities believe his policies will both improve economic conditions (66%) and reduce the budget deficit over time (54%). There has been no improvement in the GOP's image.
For all of his hopes about bipartisanship, Barack Obama has the most polarized early job approval ratings of any president in the past four decades.
More than two months into Barack Obama's presidency, as many people incorrectly identify him as a Muslim as did so during the 2008 campaign with white evangelicals and Republicans most likely to misidentify his religious affiliation.
As the president travels through Europe this week, issues arising from the global economic crisis and other world problems on his agenda seem likely to resonate with key criticisms of America's leadership carried over from the Bush years.
Most people think the new president is doing as much as he can to fix the economy, but the public expresses mixed views of his many major proposals to fix the economy. The public overwhelmingly supports Obama’s plan to remove most combat troops from Iraq by the end of August but a much narrower majority supports his planned troop buildup in Afghanistan.
Although support for the economic stimulus package has weakened over the last month, President Obama's personal image is extremely strong with fully 92% of the public rating him a good communicator. And the belief that Obama represents a break from politics as usual is widespread, despite the highly partisan reaction to his economic stimulus proposal.
Public confidence in Barack Obama to deal with the nation's most pressing problems is high and many Americans not only see the president-elect as a problem-solver, but as a "uniter" as well.
Much of the increased awareness of the president-elect’s high-level personnel selections has to do with his choice of Hillary Clinton to serve as secretary of state.