Obama Starts With 68% Job Approval

by Lydia Saad

One of the better initial ratings of post-World War II presidents

PRINCETON, NJ -- In the first Gallup Poll job approval rating of his administration, President Barack Obama receives a 68% approval rating from Americans.

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The survey was conducted from Wednesday through Friday, Jan. 21-23, spanning Obama's first three full days on the job. Only 12% of Americans disapprove of how he has performed thus far, while 21% have no opinion.

Obama's 68% approval score is on the high end of the range of initial job approval ratings Gallup has recorded for the previous eight presidents who were elected to their first term. The low percentage of Americans disapproving of his performance is fairly typical for new presidents -- although Bill Clinton and George W. Bush both started with much higher public disapproval.

A more thorough discussion of Obama's initial job approval ratings and the historical context for them will be published on gallup.com on Monday, Jan. 26.

Gallup is tracking Obama's job approval rating daily, and will be reporting it daily on gallup.com on the basis of three-day rolling averages.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,591 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Jan. 21-23, 2009. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones (for respondents with a land-line telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell-phone only).

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

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