The death of President Roosevelt during World War II and the Presidency of Harry Truman marked a new era in politics, the presidential approval rating. It is understandable that the country was nervous about the policies of a new President, especially in the middle of a war. The approval rating provides a benchmark confidence level in the president and has become a staple in our political landscape today. It is used to promote policy, to discredit presidents and as fodder for the media. Using just one set of polls, or a one-time only poll is just a snap shot of how the American people truly feel.
ABC’s FiveThirtyEight website provides us with a unique view of presidential approval ratings. The website allows viewers to compare President Trump to his predecessors in real time. This interactive site, allows a comparison of the presidents based on each day of their presidency, shifting the data by approval, disapproval and net approval ratings. The sliding scale provides a comparison for all presidents at the same time. It is based on a variety of polls taken throughout the years and has a detailed section on “How This Works” to describe the methodology.
A quick review of the website provides classroom talking points that can last throughout a semester or even the starting point for discussions and/or group projects. A few easy topics include:
Check out the website and let us know how you could use it in class.
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