Speed Reads

2014 midterms

Just how unpopular is Obama?

President Obama isn't on the ballot next Tuesday, but you'd never know it from watching Republican political ads. Republicans have decided that the best way to defeat or unseat Democrats is to tie them to Obama, and several vulnerable Democrats seem to agree. Obama, unlike the Clintons, has made few high-profile campaign appearances this cycle.

So, just how toxic is Obama? Well, Gallup pegs his job approval rating at 42 percent positive/53 percent negative, not that great... but not that abnormal in the arc of his presidency:

And as Gallup editor in chief Frank Newport noted earlier this week, Obama's support is "very steady" among gender and race groups, too. "Using Obama as a gauge, the current political gender gap at the national level is almost exactly what it has been since January 2009, with absolutely no sign of decline nationally to this point," he said, and support among blacks has actually ticked up. Obama's support among Latinos is volatile, but he has recovered to 50 percent, from a presidency-low 45 percent in September.

"This doesn't rule out the possibility that there are changes in the gender gap, or the race gap, in the support of various Senate candidates in specific state races," Newport adds, but nationally Obama is more or less where Obama has been for years, give or take a point. Congress also has a relatively steady approval rating, per Gallup: 14 percent, "the lowest found in October of a midterm election year since Gallup began tracking this measure in 1974," Gallup notes, but right at its 2014 average. Oddly, Democrats are significantly happier with Congress than Republicans or independents — and also apparently less likely to vote this year. --Peter Weber