April 26th, 2011 11:39 pm EST - By Dave Manuel
Bill Clinton Left Office With an Approval Rating of 66%
If I asked you to name the modern era US president that had the highest approval rating when they left the White House, who would you guess?
Ronald Reagan? John F. Kennedy? Bill Clinton?
The answer - Bill Clinton.
When Bill Clinton finished his second term and left the White House in 2001, he had an approval rating of 66%. This is an unbelievable number, especially given how polarized the country is just ten years later.
In the end, the economy is usually the number one priority in the minds of voters, and Bill Clinton was able to ride a red-hot economy to a high approval rating. Clinton's high approval rating also came despite the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
Next up on the list? Ronald Reagan.
When Ronald Reagan left the White House in 1989, his approval rating was 63%. The US economy was in shambles when he took office in the early '80s, as high inflation and high unemployment were conspiring to do a number on the nation.
Things turned around dramatically for the country under Reagan's watch, which enabled him to leave office with an incredibly strong 63% approval rating.
JFK, who was assassinated in 1963, had an approval rating of 63% at the time of his death.
Three other presidents had approval ratings of over 50% when they left the White House. They were:
Dwight Eisenhower - 59%
George H. W. Bush - 56%
Gerald Ford - 53%
Lyndon Johnson had a respectable approval rating of 49% when he left the White House back in 1969.
Which Presidents left the White House with the lowest approval ratings? Let's take a look:
Jimmy Carter, 34%
George W. Bush, 34%
Richard Nixon, 24%
It's worth noting that both Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan had their struggles during their first terms in office. Both Clinton and Reagan were saddled with approval ratings in the 30s during their initial years in office, but both were able to dramatically turn things around.