Does Lula Have The Highest Approval Rating Of Any President Leaving Office?

December 17, 2010

We just saw a comment stating that Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, better known as simply Lula and due to leave office shortly after two terms, has the highest approval rating of any president on the planet and that managed to get us thinking if there were any truth to what we initially believed was a tongue in cheek comment.

Sure enough we quickly found an article in the Washington Post ‘Brazil’s Silva sees record approval rating’ and saw that Lula has a whopping 87% approval rating according the Ibope polling institute, up from an already very high 83% a year ago. We checked a few other sources and they all appear to confirm that Lula is leaving office with an unusually high approval rating and held this during his second term, which is no mean feat; presidents have hit higher numbers than this, for example during times of crisis, but not for an extended period.

We had a further look around the world and could not find any higher ratings so we would be interested to hear if anyone knows of any. Looking at the US, President Bill Clinton left office with a 65% approval rating, which appears to have been the highest in the post war US Presidential ratings measured by the Wall Street Journal; in comparison the fondly remembered President Ronald Reagan’s approval rating peaked around 68% during his entire two terms and was considerably lower than this when he left office.

Other notables include Colombian President Alvaro Uribe who left office with a 75% approval rating, and of course South Africa’s President Nelson Mandela had 72% (although this was still a post apartheid country so this may in fact be an even more impressive number).