"The list of most polarized years makes it clear that Obama's highly polarized ratings may be as much a reflection of the era in which he is governing as on Obama himself," said Gallup's Jeffrey M. Jones in a statement. "The last nine presidential years — the final five for Bush and Obama's first four — all rank in the top 10. Thus, it appears that highly polarized ratings are becoming the norm, as Americans aligned with both parties are apparently not looking much beyond the president's party affiliation to evaluate the job he is doing."

Keeping with that evolution, Obama is on pace to become the most polarizing president in American history — a title currently held by Bush, with President Clinton in third place. In an average of his first term, Obama carried an 84 percent approval rating among Democrats and a 14 percent approval rating among Republicans — good for a 70-point spread. By contrast, President Bush averaged a 61-point margin over his tenure, while President Clinton averaged a 55-point spread.