Limbaugh falsely claimed Clinton approval rating "was down in the 20s"

››› ››› BEN FISHEL

Rush Limbaugh downplayed President Bush's low approval ratings by falsely claiming that former President Bill Clinton "was down in the 20s at one point" and suggesting that Clinton had "parallel poll results" to Bush during the equivalent point in his second term. In fact, Clinton's approval rating never dropped below 36 percent, and remained above 58 percent in the Gallup poll throughout 1998, the equivalent year in his presidency to 2006 for Bush.

On the June 6 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh downplayed President Bush's low approval ratings by falsely claiming that former President Bill Clinton "was down in the 20s at one point." Moreover, noting that "Bush's approval numbers are up" to 36 percent in the most recent USA Today/Gallup poll, Limbaugh suggested that Clinton had "parallel poll results" to Bush during the equivalent point in his second term. In fact, as Media Matters for America has documented, Clinton's approval rating never dropped below 36 percent, and remained above 58 percent in the Gallup poll throughout 1998, the equivalent year in his presidency to 2006 for Bush.

According to the polling archive of the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, the lowest approval rating Clinton received during his two terms was 36 percent, in a Yank/Time/CNN Poll from May 26-27, 1993. During his second term, Clinton's ratings never dropped below 53 in a Gallup poll or below a 52 percent in any poll, according to Roper Center data.

Further, during the second year of Clinton's second term, 1998, his approval rating was consistently in the 60's. The Roper Center lists Bush's all-time low at 29 percent, according to a Harris Poll conducted from May 5-8, 2006, the second year of his second term.

After asserting that "if you went back and looked at several other second-term presidents at this time in their terms, you'd find almost parallel poll results" and falsely claiming that Clinton's rating had reached the 20s, Limbaugh stated, "Jimmy Carter was way down. [Ronald] Reagan was down," adding that Bush's current low numbers are "really not unique." Reagan's poll numbers dipped to 37 percent in Gallup polls, but in his second term never fell below 43 percent. Carter, of course, never had a second term, although his poll numbers did sink below 30 percent in 1979.

From the June 6 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: Bush's approval numbers are up, folks. This is the Gallup Poll. The latest USA Today/Gallup update on George W. Bush's presidential job approval rating finds 36 percent of Americans approving of the job the president's doing; 57 percent disapprove. This represents a modest improvement in that measure from recent weeks, a finding mirrored in several other national surveys. In early May, just 31 percent approved of Bush, marking the low point of his administration to date. A subsequent poll in May found a 33 percent rating. Now he's up to 36 percent, which is in line with his public standing in March and April. So, modest improvement.

Tracking back up -- imagine if you went back and looked at several other second-term presidents at this time in their terms, you'd find almost parallel poll results. We know that Bill Clinton was down in the 20s at one point. Jimmy Carter was way down. Reagan was down. This is really -- really not unique.

Posted In
Government, The Presidency & White House
Person
Rush Limbaugh
Show/Publication
The Rush Limbaugh Show
Stories/Interests
Propaganda/Noise Machine, Polling
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