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Obama is still less popular than these TV presidents

Kevin Spacey from House of Cards.

It’s a good thing Obama doesn’t have to run against David Palmer.

We almost feel bad for President Obama. It’s one thing to have a mediocre approval rating. It’s another thing to learn that Americans have a higher opinion of the president from Scandal than they do of the real Oval Office occupant.

A Reuters-Ipsos poll released on Monday found that President Obama’s 46-percent approval rating significantly trails that of several famous fictional presidents, including 24‘s David Palmer (89 percent); The West Wing‘s Jed Bartlet (82 percent); Battlestar Galactica‘s Laura Roslin (78 percent); and, yes, Scandal‘s horrifying Machiavel, Fitzgerald Grant (60 percent).

The scores are based only on responses from people who watched the TV show in question.

Even Frank Underwood, perhaps the most revolting president in television history, received approval from 57 percent of the people who watched House of Cards.

As Reuters notes, President Obama has commented on the successes of fictional presidents in a jokingly despairing tone.

“I wish things were that ruthlessly efficient,” he said of Underwood’s world when he met with Reed Hastings, CEO of House of Cards creator Netflix, in December 2013.

And in April 2013, at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Obama responded sarcastically to people who said that they preferred The American President‘s commander-in-chief, Andrew Shepherd.

“Michael, what’s your secret, man?” Obama said to actor and dinner guest Michael Douglas, who played Shepherd. “Could it be you were an actor in an Aaron Sorkin liberal fantasy?”

“Could that have something to do with it?” Obama continued as the crowd laughed. “I don’t know. Check in with me.”

Photo via Netflix

Eric Geller

Eric Geller

Eric Geller is a politics reporter who focuses on cybersecurity, surveillance, encryption, and privacy. A former staff writer at the Daily Dot, Geller joined Politico in June 2016, where he's focused on policymaking at the White House, the Justice Department, the State Department, and the Commerce Department.