Do todays polls mean the President is doomed? Read on and decide what your take is on the prophetic power of polls…..
Ronald Reagan, the nation’s 40th president, became one of the nation’s most revered public figures in recent years, a distinct turnabout from the more routinely average ratings he received while he served in office between 1981 and 1989. Reagan’s job approval ratings in his first years in office were hurt by the bad economy.
Things got worse for Reagan in 1982. The public’s view of the economy remained sour, and the president’s ratings during 1982 stayed concomitantly low, in the 40% range, ending the year at 41%. The 1982 midterm elections were not good ones for Reagan and for the GOP. The Republicans lost about 25 seats in the House.
A clear cause for all of this was the economy. Still, Gallup analysts at the time presciently noted that there was some cause for optimism for Reagan:
***Jobless Rate Is Up To 10.1% In Month. Worst In 42 Years. 11 Million Are Idle – The New York Times***
Throughout the year  a solid majority of Gallup’s respondents have taken the position that Reaganomics will worsen, rather than improve, their own financial situation.
Yet, Gallup consistently has found somewhat more public faith that Reaganomics will help the nation as a whole and even more faith in the president’s program when the question is posed with regard to the long run.
Surveys also indicate that the public has more confidence in Reagan than approval ratings of his performance would suggest. While only one third approve of the way he is handling the economy, close to half express some degree of confidence that he will do the right thing with regard to the economy.
Indeed, although 1983 began for Reagan with a 35% job approval rating — the worst of his administration — things started to look better.
By 1984, Reagan’s job approval ratings were consistently above the 50% line that is a symbolic standard for an incumbent president seeking re-election. In Gallup’s last October poll before the November 1984 election, Reagan received a 58% job approval rating, and he went on to soundly defeat Democratic nominee Walter Mondale by a 59% to 41% popular vote margin, receiving 525 electoral votes to Mondale’s 13.
Reagan continued to soar in 1985, routinely receiving ratings in the 60% range. In May 1986, Reagan received a 68% job approval rating, tied for the highest of his administration.
Reagan’s last two Gallup job approval ratings before he left office were 57% in mid-November and 63% in December 1988.
The highest job approval rating of the Reagan administration was 68% — reached twice, in May 1981 and as previously indicated, in May 1986.
***As noted, the low point was 35% in January 1983.***