Mrs. Clinton will also be trying to defy political history: Only once since the establishment of the two-term limit in 1951 has a candidate won an election to succeed a president from the same party -- and it was the first President George Bush, whose predecessor, Ronald Reagan, remained popular at the time....Er, no -- Reagan was not popular -- at least he wasn't after the Iran-contra scandal blew up in his face. Here's the Gallup chart of his job approval:
He was mired in the 40s and low 50s from early in 1987 throughoutmost of the 1988 campaign. (That uptick in Reagan's numbers late in 1988 would seem to be linked to the successful garotting of Michael Dukakis, which turned him into America's top political object of contempt.)
How popular was Reagan compared to Barack Obama? They were roughly comparable early in their terms; Reagan's popularity climbed while Obama's didn't, but at this moment in the Reagan presidency, the Gipper's job approval was just about where Obama's is now:
The multi-decade campaign to persuade us that only a small percentage of malcontents ever disliked Ronald Reagan is at odds with reality. I know that campaign journalists are godawful at distinguishing spin from fact, but they ought to be able to get this right.