Obama’s approval rating peaked at 65.5 percent in 2009 — and then dropped to under 40 percent at the end of 2013. In his book “Polarization and the Presidency: From FDR to Barack Obama,” San Francisco State University professor Robert Smith reflected on the source of these low approval ratings. “Obama's race and his Ivy League background and the sense of his elitism, all of those come together to make his case the worst we've seen,” Smith wrote.

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