Since it’s clear from the Romney campaign’s polling memo earlier this week that Republicans are going to hang onto the 1980 analogies like rosary beads right up to Election Day, the rest of us will just have to keep blowing it up, if only for fun. TNR’s Nate Cohn did a pass yesterday afternoon at the fiction that Reagan was in the same position as Romney at an equivalent time in the 1980 cycle. So I thought I’d mention something about Obama’s comparative status that seems to have largely escaped notice.

Right now the incumbent’s job approval rating is hovering around 50% (49% in Gallup’s daily tracking poll right now). That’s not great, but it’s close to George W. Bush’s 52% in 2004. At this point in 1980, Jimmy Carter’s job approval rating was 37%, and had been below 40% for four months (it would eventually drop to 31% by just after Election Day).

There’s really just no comparison.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.