Washington (CNN) - Which president, in recent history, had the most polarizing second year in office?
The answer: President Obama, according to a fresh analysis.
Gallup compared Obama's second year approval numbers – from January 2010 to January 2011 – against figures from the second year of other presidents. It reports that an average of 81 percent of Democrats approved of the president, while only 13 percent of Republicans approved, on average. That's a 68 percentage point gap in party ratings - higher than the gap faced by any other president in his second year.
That 68 point figure is a record for a president's second year, but it is well behind the all-time record set by George W. Bush in 2004, his fourth year in office. During that year, Bush's approval rating among Republicans was 91 percent on average, compared to only 15-percent among Democrats. That works out to a 76 point party gap - still the highest Gallup has recorded since 1953.
Bush, in fact, remains the most polarizing president in history, holding the top three slots in Gallup's analysis. The amount of polarization in 2004, 2005, and 2006 - his fourth, fifth and sixth years in office - was over 70 percentage points each time. His second year in office, 2002, was relatively free from partisan differences due to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
"The Gallup analysis may reflect the partisan nature of the American public rather than any judgment on either Bush or Obama," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
"If you look at Gallup's table, the top six years with the highest rates of polarization all come in the past eight years, between 2004 and 2010. Does that say something about the way Bush and Obama governed the country, or something about the country itself?"