Schneider: Is Obama the superpresident?

A new CNN poll of polls shows 64 percent job approval for President Obama.
How does President Obama compare with his predecessors after nearly 100 days in office?

On his job rating, Obama comes out just a little better. But he really stands out on personal qualities. CNN’s recent poll of polls, taken April 14-21, shows an average of 64 percent job approval for Obama. According to Gallup polling examining past presidents’ job approval, that’s similar to where the last six elected presidents stood after 100 days. Only Ronald Reagan got a slightly higher rating (67 percent). Bill Clinton and the first President Bush were both below 60. The average for the six recent presidents after 100 days: 61 percent approval. All were in the same general range — between 55 and 67 percent. They were all elected after the late 1960s, when the great division in American politics emerged. Conservative versus liberal. Red versus blue. Each has taken office with a hard core of supporters and opponents. New presidents used to come in with a greater reserve of good will. Ratings for John F. Kennedy and Dwight Eisenhower were markedly higher after 100 days — Kennedy 83 percent, Eisenhower 72 percent. Obama really stands out on personal qualities. After 9/11, the public believed George W. Bush would keep the country safe. Do they think Obama will keep the country safe Yes — 71 percent, according to a poll taken for the Associated Press.

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The First 100 Days

Americans in the polls believed Clinton cared about them. Do they think Obama cares about them Yes — 71 percent, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll taken February 18-19, which sampled the public’s view of the 44th president. Watch more on recent polling ยป The first President Bush was criticized for being out of touch with ordinary Americans. Do people think Obama understands the problems of ordinary Americans Yes — 74 percent. Jimmy Carter was not considered a strong leader. Ronald Reagan was. Does the public think Obama is a strong leader Yes — 76 percent. Richard Nixon turned out not to be honest and trustworthy. Do people think Obama is honest and trustworthy Yes — 74 percent.

Is Obama the superpresident So far, so good. But as the figures for previous presidents suggest, you can’t always judge a president by his first 100 days.