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Obama's second-term poll numbers look more like George W. Bush than Bill Clinton

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The data, which measures President Obama's poll numbers through the end of April, comes from the Pew Research Center and it gives both Democrats and Republicans reason for hope. Obama's approval ratings are almost 10 points above George W. Bush's at this point in Bush's presidency. And Obama isn't being continually dragged down by a failing war (though neither is he being buoyed by an economy high on credit). That suggests Democrats might avoid the rending Republicans suffered in the 2006 midterm elections.

But Obama's ratings are even further from Bill Clinton's at this point in his presidency. They're so far from Clinton's ratings, in fact, that it's become a bit of a dark joke in the White House. "Folks are saying that with my sagging poll numbers, my fellow Democrats don't really want me campaigning with them," Obama said at the White House Correspondents Dinner. "And I don't think that's true — although I did notice the other day that Sasha needed a speaker at career day, and she invited Bill Clinton." So there's little reason for Democrats to hope for the kind of surprise midterm gains they saw in 1998.

For more on how the midterms look today, read Andrew Prokop's analysis of why the Washington Post gives Republicans a 77 percent chance of capturing the Senate while the New York Times gives Democrats a 58 percent chance of keeping it.