The most and least polarizing presidents — the results will surprise you

Barack Obama, George W. Bush
Barack Obama and George W. Bush are tied as being the most polarizing presidents

The results of a Gallup poll released Thursday indicate that President Barack Obama is just as polarizing as former President George W. Bush.

Ask a Democrat who the most polarizing president is, and he’ll answer without hesitation: Bush. While Republicans loved his easy-going manner, Democrats hated him. The figures prove it.

Partisanship always enters into how we feel about a particular politician. Republicans naturally like Republicans, and Democrats like Democrats. So polarization is the difference in that person’s approval ratings between the two major parties.

After four years in office, Bush had a whopping 91 percent approval rating among his fellow Republicans – but was liked by only 15 percent of Democrats, a 76-point difference.

But what of Obama, Mr. “Hope & Change,” Mr. “no red states, no blue states, only the United States”? He’s only loved by 10 percent of Republicans and 86 percent of Democrats, another 76-point difference.

The least polarizing president in recent years is — are you sitting down? — Jimmy Carter, with a difference in approval ratings after four years in office of only 29 percent, Gallup’s numbers show. But the numbers used to arrive at that difference tell the full story.

Although only 24 percent of Republicans approved of Carter, Democrats didn’t much like him, either. His approval with the party faithful was a paltry 53 percent.

It takes more than catchy campaign slogans and flowery rhetoric to win over the loyal opposition — it takes an ability and desire to work with the opposition. So far, Obama hasn’t shown a willingness to do so. He’d rather do it on his own through executive fiat and agency rules and regulations.

Read the full Gallup poll here.

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