As President Obama Goes, Here’s How Cable News Goes…

By Jordan Chariton 

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With the midterm elections approaching and President Obama three quarters of the way through his presidency, we thought we’d see how the big three cable news networks’ ratings have fared in direct comparison to the president’s popularity.

We looked at President Obama’s monthly Gallup approval ratings dating back to January 2009: from his inauguration through September’s approval ratings, which was released yesterday. The president began his first term with a 64% approval rating. As of today, he is at 42%, a 22-point drop. For the networks, we looked at the Monday-Sunday total viewership for both total day and primetime (Live +Same Day). Our chart (after the jump) breaks down the networks’ quarterly averages.

Of the three networks, Fox News’ ratings have been the most stable in comparison to fluctuations in the president’s approval rating. FNC’s high point was around the 2012 presidential election, when Obama was at 51% approval. The network’s low point came earlier this year, when Obama was at 43% approval.

CNN’s peak came at the time of President Obama’s first inauguration, when Obama sat at 64% approval. Its basement was the second quarter of 2012 when Obama had dropped to 47%. At that time, all networks were in wall-to-wall presidential campaign coverage.

Like FNC, MSNBC’s high point came at the time of the 2012 election, when Obama was at 51%. MSNBC has had the biggest drop since the 2012 election, and is at its low point right now, just as President Obama is, who’s tied for his all-time low at 42%.

Network and presidential ratings, after the jump.


Corinne Grinapol contributed to this report.

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