Although history tells us there is absolutely no relationship between a president's job approval rating during his first 33 months in office and whether he was subsequently re-elected, it is still interesting to watch a president's poll numbers before that time marker for signs of potential vulnerability or enduring strength.

In 1982, at the end of their second year in office, Republicans lost 26 House seats and came within 34,000 votes of losing five Senate seats and control of the Senate, while President Reagan had only a 41 percent approval rating in the Gallup Poll. Yet two years later, Reagan won re-election with almost 59 percent of the vote, carrying 49 out of 50 states.

President Clinton had Gallup approval ratings in the 40-42 percent range in December 1994, a month after his party lost 52 House and eight Senate seats. Yet, he won re-election by an 8.5-point margin two years later. President Nixon had an unimpressive 52 percent approval rating in December 1970, but carried 49 states in 1972. President Carter enjoyed a 51 percent approval rating in December

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