I was looking again at this graphic I did yesterday and wondering what caused that big bump in Carter’s approvals between Days 1000 and 1200.
Click on graphic to embiggen.
Like Obama, Carter was elected because he was not the Republican. Their ratings both reflect the fact that they were long on hype and short on actual leadership ability, starting out high at inauguration and sinking fast.
Carter did better at the beginning than Teh Won though. They each started at 66%-67%, but Carter’s went up for a couple of months to reach his all time high of 75%. Obama’s started sinking immediately and crossed below 50% earlier than Carter had.
So far, Obama’s low point has been 40%. Carter’s lowest point was 28% which he hit in the last week of June 1979. The notable events listed in the timeline @ http://www.jimmycarterlibrary.gov/documents/jec/chron.phtml are June 12, 1979 Carter proposes National Health Plan to Congress and June 18, 1979 Carter signs SALT II Treaty in Vienna with Brezhnev.
I don’t know much about that time. I was too busy planning my wedding to pay attention to Jimmy Carter. But just at a guess … Americans didn’t much like him trying to shove nationalized health on us or compromising our national security playing footsie with the Soviets. But like I said … I was busy with invitations and such. So what do I know.
That one notable bump began in November 1979, when Iranian militants took Americans hostage in Tehran and he responded by imposing a ban on oil imports from and sale of weapons to Iran. Both measures damaged the Iranian economy and military capability and the American people clearly approved. His ratings went above 50% in December, then hit 58% at the end of January 1980.
On January 27, 1980, Canadians rescued some of our hostages, but that was the peak for Carter’s approval recovery. As we waited in vain for HIM to do something decisive, his approval ratings sank again, dropping below 50% by March.
He scored a small bump to 43% after launching a rescue attempt at the end of April, even though it failed and eight American servicemen died. But when there was no follow up, his ratings dropped again, hitting 31% by June. Going into the election that fall, he was at 37%. After he lost, he dropped back to 31%.
It is a sign of the total contempt the Iranian hostage takers had for this weak, appeasing President that they chose to release the 52 hostages on January 20, 1981, at the moment Reagan completed his 20-minute inaugural address after being sworn in as President.
You can access and compare presidential approvals (since Truman) at Gallup @