On President Obama's Approval Rating

Jackie Calmes and Megan Thee-Brenan, writing for The New York TImes:

After a first term of both big achievements and disappointments and the economy still struggling to recover from the financial crisis he inherited, Mr. Obama retains the approval of a slim majority of Americans, 51 percent, according to a pre-inauguration survey for The New York Times and CBS News. That is down from 62 percent soon after he took office four years ago, and conceals a sharp divide: 8 in 10 Republicans disapprove of how he is handling the job, while almost 9 in 10 Democrats approve. Independents are split.

The public's approval of Mr. Obama's job performance is similar to George W. Bush's rating at the start of his second term. But it is lower than the standings for the previous two-term presidents, Bill Clinton (60 percent) and Ronald Reagan (62 percent), who served in less polarized times.

In general terms, I guess you could count me amongst the 51% who support him. I'm certainly glad he was re-elected, as I think he was a much better choice than Mitt Romney. That said, since I don't identify as "liberal" in the Democratic sense, I'm not entirely pleased with Obama's performance thus far. He's done some good things, to be sure, but mostly I think the political system is the biggest problem America has right now. I know I'm in the smallest of minorities here, but it'd be swell if voters could have more candidates to choose from (and whom have substantial say-so) rather than be pigeon-holed into picking from only two groups. As it stands, I'm left "supporting" Obama by default, because the other guy is so fucking wacky. That's not a good reason for choosing your country's leader; it's sad that so many people with good ideas are left on the fringes because the Constitution says Democrats and Republicans are the only people who matter. Just seems wrong to me.