With two notable exceptions, Presidents Regan and Clinton, the second term has not been kind to Presidents’ approval ratings post-World War II. Until the polling slide caused by the sequester, President Obama had been defying the supposed “second-term curse.” It is very common for Presidents’ second term approval ratings to be markedly lower than the first. These downturns in popularity are often caused by political scandal, public fatigue, or political agenda setbacks. Certainly the sequester has been a political challenge that has garnered national attention as of late. And with little sign of movement towards a solution, elected officials are feeling the heat with regards to their approval ratings.
While others before him have found it difficult to turn their approval rating around once it started its downward slide, Presidents Reagan and Clinton prove that it is possible for President Obama to end on a high note. Both experienced dips in their popularity, but ended their second term with higher averages than their first term. How the sequester plays out and how the public handles the cuts will certainly be reflected in President Obama’s numbers.