The Sayonara Zone

How bad must things get for a first term president (or the nominee of a two-term president’s party) before he’s in serious danger of losing his next election? How can we quantify “bad?”

I decided to scatterplot the presidential approval ratings tracked by Gallup against the infamous “Misery Index” — U-6 Unemployment plus the current annual inflation rate — culled from statistics collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The data points I plotted were from the last dates surveyed before each Election Day. Here’s what I found.

The Sayonara Zone

Uh-oh. I’d say President Obama is solidly inside The Sayonara Zone on the chart.

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