Academic Alamo: Grad Students and Former Grad Students Form Obama’s Last Redoubt of Approval, Says Gallup Poll

By Terence P. Jeffrey | October 27, 2010 | 11:23 AM EDT

Barack Obama, a student at Harvard University Law School in Cambridge, Mass., Feb. 6, 1990, came to Harvard in the fall of 1988 after graduating from Columbia University and spending four years as a community organizer in Chicago. (AP Photo/Joe Wrinn)

( - Graduate students and former graduate students now form the last redoubt of approval for President Barack Obama, according to the Gallup poll.

When American adults are sorted by their level of educational attainment—including those with a high school diploma or less, those with some college, those with college degrees but no graduate school experience, and those who have attended at least some graduate school—only the last group still gives Obama a majority approval rating.

In Gallup polling for the week of Oct. 18-24, Americans who have done some postgraduate studies (whether or not they have actually earned a postgraduate degree), give Obama a 55-percent job approval rating.

Obama’s approval is lowest among Americans who have a college degree but never attended grad school. Among this group, only 41 percent approve of the job the president is doing. The last time college-degree-only Americans gave Obama a majority approval rating, according to the Gallup poll, was the week of May 10-16.

Americans who have attended some college, but do not have a college degree, give Obama a 42-percent approval rating. The last time this group gave Obama a majority approval rating was the week of April 19-25.

Americans who have a high school diploma or less give Obama a 43 percent approval rating. The last time they gave Obama a majority approval rating was the week of Feb. 22-28.

During the course of Obama's presidency, there has been only one week—Aug. 16-22, 2010—when the president's job approval rating dipped below 50 percent among grad students and former grad students. That week, it hit 47 percent among this group. Aug. 16-22, 2010, and the following week of Aug. 23-29, was also the period when Obama hit his lowest overall weekly approval rating of 43 percent as measured by Gallup's polling.

For last week, Obama’s overall approval rating was 44 percent in the Gallup poll, almost matching his all-time weekly low as tracked by Gallup.

However, for the three-day period of Oct. 21-23, Obama's approval rating was only 41 percent--the absolute lowest three-day rating of his presidency, according to Gallup. For the three days of Oct. 23-25--the latest period available--Obama's overall approval rating was 43 percent.

Gallup asks about 500 people per day whether they approve or disapprove of the job the president is doing. 

In the week of Jan. 19-25, 2009 when President Obama was sworn into office, his overall approval rating in the Gallup poll was 67 percent and was near or above that rate among Americans of all educational attainment levels. In that week, those with high school diplomas or less gave Obama an approval rating of 66 percent, those with some college gave him an approval rating of 65 percent, those with college degrees but no graduate school gave him an approval rating of 69 percent, and those with some postgraduate experience gave him an approval rating of 70 percent.