Maybe it’s just the heat, but Americans seem to approve of President Barack Obama less during the summer months, according to a new Gallup poll that shows a steady decline throughout that time period over the course of his presidency.
The poll shows that Obama’s approval ratings tend to drop from June through August, with his average rating currently at 46 percent. The president's approval was at 65 percent when he first took office, in January of 2009, but even that year his approval dipped to 53 percent in August. For summer months in the years after, the president’s approval has ranged from a low of 41 percent in August 2011 to a high of 47 percent this June, the Gallup data shows.
What exactly causes this seasonal decline isn’t clear, but researchers speculate it could that be that the president has less work, particularly in August, when Congress is on recess. The president himself usually takes a vacation during the summer, and perhaps Americans simply don’t care too much what Obama is doing at this time so aren't inclined to approve or disapprove, according to Gallup.
Obama isn’t the only president to have experienced a downward swing in his approval in the summer. Gallup data also shows some decline for George W. Bush, who averaged between 47 percent and 48 percent in the summer months, and Bill Clinton, who experienced approval in the 50 percent range, but it wasn't a month-to-month drop as is the case for Obama.
But those declines can be attributed to circumstances, said pollster Kenneth Warren, a professor of political science at St. Louis University. He said by looking at the numbers there is nothing out of line with Obama’s approval ratings and that the steady low numbers could result from things like the IRS scandal, NSA leaks and even the conflict in the Middle East.
“All this to me is statistical nonsense. It all can be so easily explained,” Warren said, later adding that it’s possible the numbers could dip in August because of the perception that no work is being done while lawmakers are out on recess. “As I look at this there is certainly not any statistical significance here.”