President Obama's media cheerleaders are hailing how loved he is. But at the 100-day mark of his presidency, Mr. Obama is the second-least-popular president in 40 years.
According to Gallup's April survey, Americans have a lower approval of Mr. Obama at this point than all but one president since Gallup began tracking this in 1969. The only new president less popular was Bill Clinton, who got off to a notoriously bad start after trying to force homosexuals on the military and a federal raid in Waco, Texas, that killed 86. Mr. Obama's current approval rating of 56 percent is only one tick higher than the 55-percent approval Mr. Clinton had during those crises.
As the attached chart shows, five presidents rated higher than Mr. Obama after 100 days in office. Ronald Reagan topped the charts in April 1981 with 67 percent approval. Following the Gipper, in order of popularity, were: Jimmy Carter with 63 percent in 1977; George W. Bush with 62 percent in 2001; Richard Nixon with 61 percent in 1969; and George H.W. Bush with 58 percent in 1989.
It's no surprise the liberal media aren't anxious to point out that their darling is less popular than George W. Bush. But given the Gallup numbers, their hurrahs could be more subdued. USA Today's front page touted the April poll results as positive, with the headline: "Public thinks highly of Obama." The current cover of Newsweek magazine ponders "The Secret of His [Mr. Obama's] Success." The comparison with previous presidents is useful because they are usually popular during their first few months in office - and most presidents have been more popular than Mr. Obama.
The explanation for Mr. Obama's low approval is that he ran as a moderate but has governed from the far left. The fawning and self-deceiving press won't go there. On Sunday's "Meet the Press," host David Gregory asked a panel about critics who "would say one of the things that he's done in 100 days already is expand the role of government, the size of government." Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin claimed, "That's what he ran for the presidency in the first place for."
Perplexed about complaints over Mr. Obama's expansion of government, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham asked: "does no one listen during campaigns?"
It was these pundits who weren't paying attention during last year's campaign. In all three presidential debates, Mr. Obama promised to cut government spending and reduce the size of the deficit. He blamed the economic crisis on excessive deficits. At no time did candidate Barack Obama say that more deficit-spending was the solution.
Mr. Obama's popularity after 100 days is the second-lowest for a simple reason: He is more partisan and divisive than his predecessors - including Richard Nixon.