Matalin falsely claimed that Reagan and Clinton's second-term approval ratings were "similar" to Bush's current low in the polls


On the October 11 edition of the Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Republican strategist Mary Matalin claimed that President Bush's current low approval ratings are "similar" to those of presidents Reagan and Clinton during their second terms. In fact, while Reagan's Gallup poll approval ratings did dip below Bush's most recent Gallup rating of 45 (which is substantially higher than several more recent polls), Clinton's lowest approval rating was substantially higher than Bush's ratings in second-term polls by Gallup, NBC/Wall Street Journal and PRSA/Newsweek.

Bush's current approval ratings versus Clinton and Reagan's second-term lows:

George W. Bush

Bill Clinton

Ronald Reagan

39 percent

NBC/Wall Street Journal

October 8-10

57 percent

NBC/Wall Street Journal

March 6-10, April 26-28, and October 25-28, 1997


40 percent


September 29-30

52 percent


June 10-11, August 12-13, 1999, and April 13-14, 2000


45 percent

Gallup (subscription required)

September 26-28

53 percent

Gallup (subscription required)

May 23-24, 1999

43 percent


March 6-9, 1987

From the October 11 edition of The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: Gas prices? You think that's the big thing driving these numbers down?

MATALIN: I think these numbers that are being reported as so apocalyptic are neither apocalyptic, nor predictive, nor permanent. Presidents Reagan and Clinton had similar numbers in their second term. And I think history went on to receive them quite well.

Posted In
Government, The Presidency & White House
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