For the first time in the 10 months since he took office, President Barack Obama's approval rating has dropped below 50% in Gallup's daily "tracking" poll.
The polling firm just reported that its surveys show "49% of Americans approving of the job Barack Obama is doing as president."
And the gap between Obama's "approval" and "disapproval" numbers has narrowed to five percentage points: 44% of those surveyed disapprove of the job he's doing, Gallup says.
The numbers, Gallup writes:
Are based on telephone interviews with 1,533 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Nov. 17-19, 2009, as part of Gallup Daily tracking. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is +/- 4 percentage points.
It adds that "most of the recent decline in support for Obama occurred in July and August." And:
Obama now is the fourth fastest to drop below the majority approval level, doing so in his 10th month on the job. Gerald Ford dropped below 50% approval during his third month in office, and Bill Clinton did so in his fourth month. Ronald Reagan, like Obama, also dropped below 50% in his 10th month in office, though Reagan's drop occurred a few days sooner in that month.
Gallup has been doing presidential approval polling since the Truman administration, and it says "all presidents except John Kennedy dropped below the majority approval level at some point in their presidencies, and all recovered after the first time below this mark to go back above 50% approval."
Pollster.com collects data from a variety of pollsters. It's latest average of those surveys puts Obama's approval rating at 50.5% and his disapproval rating at 44.5%.
NPR's Political Junkie, Ken Rudin, blogs over here.