July 19th, 2010 -- President Obama's steep decline in popularity since taking office should be distressing for Democrats, but at least from a historical standpoint -- and if past is precedent -- he can be compared to one looming American political figure: Ronald Reagan.
It is a comparison sure to send conservatives, many of whom idolize Reagan and abhor Obama's policies, running for the hills. It will likewise unsettle a good number of Democrats still frustrated by Reagan's policies.
But placed together on a graph the two men's approval ratings snake and jut downwards like a helix, from almost identical starting points, with approval in the high 60s, down to about 50 percent in the first year and a half. (Spoiler Alert: Reagan's popularity continued down to a low of 42 percent and Republicans lost 26 seats in the House of Representatives after two years of the Reagan presidency. Many political experts predict even stiffer losses for Democrats in November.)
"It is absolutely uncanny. A relationship like this is remarkable," said Gary Langer, ABC's polling director, who has been noting the popularity comparison between the two men since Obama's inauguration. Read Langer's analysis here and here.