UPDATE: Gallup's daily tracking poll today showed President Obama's approval rating at 50 percent, his disapproval rating at 45 percent. That's a 3 percentage point jump from Tuesday's tracking poll, which had Obama's approval at 47 percent - a watershed low during his presidency.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs slammed Gallup's daily tracking poll on Tuesday after it showed President Obama's approval rating had fallen to 47 percent, the lowest approval rating for any president at this stage of his presidency dating back to President Harry S Truman.
"If I was a heart patient and Gallup was my EKG, I'd visit my doctor," Gibbs said in the morning, off-camera briefing with reporters. "Five days ago there was an eleven-point spread. Now there is a one-point spread. I'm sure a six-year-old with a Crayon could do something not unlike that."
Gallup's survey has shown Obama's approval rating just above or just below 50 percent for most of November. When the president's rating hit 47 percent, Gallup compared that data with previous presidents at the same stage of their presidency.
Truman's rating at this stage of his presidency was 49 percent. Gallup began polling in 1938, five years into Franklin Roosevelt's administration. At no point did Roosevelt's approval rating drop below 48 percent in a Gallup poll.
Obama's approval rating - buffeted by the recession, the grinding push for health care reform, and lengthy debate over expanding the US combat presence in Afghanistan - is now lower than Presidents Nixon and Ford were at this stage of their presidencies.
Gibbs reference to an "eleven-point spread" between Obama's approval and disapproval rating "five days ago" cannot be found in Gallup's data. In a Nov 30-Dec. 2 survey, Gallup found Obama's approval at 51 percent and his disapproval at 42 percent. A Nov. 27-29 survey found the ratio to be 51 percent approval to 41 percent disapproval.
Gallup has tracked the president's approval throughout the year.
Despite the scope of Gallup's data and its reputation for professional political polling, Gibbs dismissed its survey.
"I don't put a lot of stake in, never have, in the EKG that is daily Gallup trend. I don't pay a lot of attention to the meaninglessness of it."
Other surveys have also pegged Obama's approval rating below 50 percent, a reliable benchmark in previous presidencies to determine legislative and political clout.
Rasmussen's recent survey has Obama's approval at 47 percent
CNN/Opinion Research found Obama's approval rating to be 48 percent
Fox News/Opinion Dynamics pegged Obama's approval rating at 46 percent
The last poll to show Obama above 50 percent approval was conducted in mid-November by CBS News