Tell me: How is your job approval rating?
For instance, if your kids pitted your chocolate chip cookies against all other chocolate chip cookie makers on the block, how would you fare? And what about your yard? Is your lawn as lush as your neighbors’? Is it worthy of accolades and special awards?
What if the people on your street ranked folks in your area based on some kind of “neighborliness quotient.” Would you be in the running? Finally, based on every person who preceded you in your current job, can you hold a candle to your work forerunners?
Whenever I read the latest story about the president’s job approval ratings – regardless of who’s in office or what group is conducting the survey – I have to feel a little sorry for the guy. Day in, day out, someone is polling The Public. This is that vague “they” who offer opinions on everything from who would win the election if it were held today to how likely they are to vote if it’s raining, and the temperature is below 40 degrees. Or they have to walk to the polls because the car won’t start or can’t find a stamp to return their ballot-by-mail?
As I launched an internet search for pollsters, I discovered there are scores of agencies who gather opinions from the American public including Pew, Research. America, Roper, Pollster, Polling Reporter and Brookings, to name a few. This doesn’t count all those news organizations, government agencies, colleges and universities that boast their own poll-taking folks. Gallup – what I’d call the king of opinion-takers – has its own online Presidential Job Approval Center that it updates every week.
Presidential job approval is one of the most popular Gallup company reports. Since 1938, participants grade the chief executive on gauges like leadership, confidence and capability. It also compares approval rankings among presidents from Franklin Roosevelt (FDR) to Trump.
The American Presidency Project at UC Santa Barbara uses Gallup rankings to report on job approval. With the May 13 report, President Obama is tenth on the list of those 14 presidents with an average approval rating during his tenure of 47.9 percent. (President Kennedy tops the list at 70.1, followed by President Eisenhower at 65 and Roosevelt at 63. By comparison, Trump is currently at the bottom of the list at 40%. In a March 15 column on CNN.com, Harry Enten writes, “Historically, an incumbent’s approval rating is highly correlated with his reelection odds.”
Ouch. That’s gotta hurt.
And, of course, there’s the ever-popular, “If the election were held today … .” Assuming Joe Biden wins the Democratic nomination on August 17, the “who would win” is currently at 46 percent for Republican President Trump and 51 percent for Sen. Biden according to a May 7-10 poll by CNN.
As I asked in the beginning, how’s your job approval rating? For myself, I’m traipsing along a swinging bridge over a deep gorge and every other slat is missing. Yes, this gives new meaning to “falling through the cracks.”
My job approval? I’m operating on the idea that ignorance is bliss. After all, if I don’t ask the question, I don’t have to deal with the answer.
I wonder if the president does the same?