The historical site CivilWar.org provides this example:
"The illustrious Honest Old Abe has continued during the last week to make a fool of himself and to mortify and shame the intelligent people of this great nation.
His speeches have demonstrated the fact that although originally a Herculean rail splitter and more lately a whimsical story teller and side splitter, he is no more capable of becoming a statesman, nay, even a moderate one, than the braying ass can become a noble lion.
People now marvel how it came to pass that Mr. Lincoln should have been selected as the representative man of any party.
His weak, wishy-washy, namby-pamby efforts, imbecile in matter, disgusting in manner, have made us the laughing stock of the whole world.
The European powers will despise us because we have no better material out of which to make a President.
The truth is, Lincoln is only a moderate lawyer and in the larger cities of the Union could pass for no more than a facetious pettifogger.
Take him from his vocation and he loses even these small characteristics and indulges in simple twaddle, which would disgrace a well bred school boy."
This tirade was not the rant of a fire-eating secessionist editor in Richmond or New Orleans.
- It was the declaration of the "Salem Advocate",
- a newspaper printed in Lincoln’s home ground of central Illinois…
At the time he was sworn in, Lincoln’s ‘approval rating’ can be estimated
- by examining wintertime Republican losses in local elections in Brooklyn, Cincinnati, Cleveland and St. Louis,
- and state elections in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island;
- by the observations of Henry Adams (of the presidential Adams’) that:
--- ‘not a third of the House’ supported him;
- and by the published reckoning of the "New York Herald" that:
--- only 1 million of the 4.7 million, who voted in November, were still with him.
- All these indications put his support in the nation at about 25%
- roughly equivalent to the lowest approval ratings recorded by modern-day polling.