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A favorability rating is a statistical indicator that is produced from data that typically are gathered in political polls. These ratings indicate whether the public's overall sentiment toward a politician is favorable (positive), unfavorable (negative), or neutral. Journalists often report favorability ratings as part of their coverage of political campaigns and elections.

A favorability rating about a politician is calculated by using data gathered in so-called approval questions. These questions ask poll respondents whether they “approve or disapprove of X,” where X typically is the name of a politician. The favorability rating for that person is calculated by subtracting the proportion of those interviewed who say they disapprove of the person (or her or his policies, or both) from the proportion that say they approve. That ...

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