If it seems like the divide between the Democrats and Republicans has widened considerably over the last few decades, it's because it has -- at least when it comes to the way the two parties view the president's job performance on the eve of his second inauguration.

Don't buy it? Just take a look at this chart from the Pew Research Center. The gap between Republicans' and Democrats' approval of the job President Obama is doing now is more than twice as wide as it was in 1957, when President Dwight Eisenhower was gearing up for his second term.


Since then, the Republican and Democratic parties have become ever more polarized, with the distance growing substantially under President George W. Bush and Obama.

In January 1997, President Bill Clinton's approval rating among Democrats was nearly three times what it was among Republicans. But that's nothing compared with today's numbers: Obama's approval rating among Democrats is more than six times what it is among Republicans.