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Why is the country so sharply divided when it comes to President Obama?
October 17th, 2012
03:20 PM ET

Why is the country so sharply divided when it comes to President Obama?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama did better at the debate Tuesday night, but he's a long way from sealing the deal for a second term.

For example, Obama is one of the most polarizing presidents this country has ever seen.

According to a Gallup Poll, so far in October, a whopping 90% of Democrats approve of the job the president is doing, compared with only 8% of Republicans.

That's an 82-point gap in party approval ratings a month before the election and figures to be the largest gap for any incumbent in recent history.
George W. Bush had an 80-point gap in party approval the October before the election, while Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan all had gaps below 70 points.

And the trend is not his friend. Obama's ratings have become more polarized each year he's been in office. Perhaps not surprising when he pushed through measures like Obamacare with no Republican support. Also controversial are his record government spending and what critics claim are Obama's efforts to grow big government.

Gallup points out that it's not unusual for a president's ratings to be the most polarized their fourth year in office, right before the election.

For now, George W. Bush's fourth year is still the most polarized of any presidential year since they started keeping track in the 1950s.

But Bush and Obama share near-universal approval from their own party and a near-universal disapproval from the other party.

Another explanation is that feelings about Obama – and Bush before him – are partly a reflection of our hyperpartisan culture in which every issue degrades into a battle between left and right.

Here’s my question to you: Why is the country so sharply divided when it comes to President Obama?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.