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President Obama’s third year in office elicited some of the most polarized job approval ratings ever, as the differences between Republican and Democratic views of the president stood at near-record highs, a new survey shows. In 2011, 80 percent of Democrats approved of Obama’s job performance, compared to only 12 percent of Republicans, according to Gallup. The gap of 68 percent is the fourth-highest on record, going all the way back to the Eisenhower administration, the pollster said. Only President George W. Bush’s fourth, fifth and sixth years in office showed higher degrees of polarization. It appears that the last decade has seen some of the most polarized views on the presidency ever. Put together, the Bush and Obama administrations account for the 7 most polarized years on record, and 8 of the top 10. Despite all this, the polarization looks to get even worse in 2012. “Americans likely view a president seeking re-election in more sharply partisan terms as they decide whether he is deserving of a second term in office. Thus, it would be expected that Obama’s already highly polarized ratings may become more so over the next 12 months,” according to Gallup.
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