May 22nd, 2012
07:49 PM ET

Letters to the President #1219: 'Disapproval ratings'

Reporter's Note: President Obama is running for re-election. I’m running for the door to go home, just as soon as I get this letter done.

Dear Mr. President,

I suppose you’ve seen this latest ABC News/Washington Post poll asking voters that perennial question: Are you better off now than you were the last time you voted for a president?

You also probably know that the results were not exactly a ringing endorsement.

16 percent say they are better off, and 30 percent say they are worse off. They blame former president Bush more than they blame you, but they remain pretty evenly split on whether you or Romney can better lead us out of the economic wilderness.

Such assessments must be sobering for any president. I mean, you get elected amid all the bunting and balloons, everyone praises your ideas, and then a few years pass, reality sets in, and Bob’s-your-uncle everyone is saying, “Meh. I guess he’s ok. But who else do we have in the hopper?”

Oh sure, you have a genuine chance of being re-elected, and that will certainly mean a little champagne popping at the White House if it comes to pass. But even the winner in a presidential race these days can pretty much count on almost half the country not wanting him in office. That’s a lot of people. And since polls are a more day-to-day version of that same phenomenon, I guess you can’t really be upset when a bad one comes your way.

Still, I’m tempted to turn that question around: Is your life better or worse than it was during the last election? I imagine your answer might be, “Well, depends on how you look at it…”


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