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NOT-SO-LAME-DUCK

There’s a clear leader in the 2016 race—and he already lives in the White House

Reuters/Kevin Lamarque
Calm down, I’m not running.
  • Hanna Kozlowska
By Hanna Kozlowska

Investigative reporter

This article is more than 2 years old.

In newspaper columns, magazine think-pieces and comments on viral social media videos, many Americans have decided they will miss Barack Obama when he leaves office—from his “cool rationality in foreign policy” to his mic-drop humor.

According to the most recent Gallup data (May 23-29), Obama’s approval rating is 52%, the highest it’s been in several years, and more than most lame-duck presidents in the last several decades. Meanwhile, likely nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are among the least-liked candidates ever.

As the New York Times points out, this could be good news for Hillary Clinton, who touts her ties with the Obama administration on the campaign trail. Historical data shows that more often than not, an incumbent’s high approval rating helps secure the presidency for his party. Exceptions include John F. Kennedy’s win in 1960 and Al Gore’s losing run in 2000, (although he did win the popular vote).

Matching Obama up against his recent predecessors, he only trails Bill Clinton, who presided over a period of economic prosperity, and the enormously popular Dwight D. Eisenhower.

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