Today Gallup released its latest version of President Obama’s approval ratings. 45% of Americans approve of the job the President is doing. That is slightly higher than is approval last month which was at 44%. The President has not had a month over 50% since last November. But that is not the important part of the story
These are troubling signs for the Democratic Party as presidents below 50% approval at the time of midterm elections typically see their party lose a substantial number of seats. Richard Nixon is the only president whose rating improved significantly (from 51% to 58%) in the final weeks leading up to his first midterm election. If Obama’s approval rating does not improve in the coming weeks, his support will be similar to that of Ronald Reagan (42% in 1982) and Bill Clinton (45% in 1994), both of whose parties suffered substantial congressional losses in the midterm election.
But that is not the real story either. Look down at this list of demographic groups
Obama’s approval amongst whites (36%) and Hispanics (55%) are relatively low, but these groups do show a diversity of opinion, but amongst African Americans, Obama’s approval rating is a monolithic 91%
In a recent interview with the German Magazine Der Spiegel Congressman John Lewis suggested that Obama’s approval ratings are low because of the color of his skin.
In some quarters, it’s true, people cannot get used to the idea that a person of color is president of the United States. People cannot get comfortable with the idea that so many people are coming from different parts of the world to America. In just a short time, America will be a minority majority, and that feeds some of the frustration.
Allow me to suggest that a look of the President’s approval numbers may suggest the opposite, African Americans are 65% more likely to approve of President Obama than Hispanic Americans, twice as likely to support Obama than the general population and 2.6 times more likely to approve of the POTUS than Non-Hispanic Whites. That suggests that if there is Racism in Obama’s approval numbers, it is coming from the African-Americans who support him, rather than the Caucasians who do not.