Barack Obama

Carolyn Kaster/AP – President Obama is ending his fifth year in office with his lowest approval ratings.

By Dan Balz and Scott Clement
December 17, 2013

President Obama is ending his fifth year in office matching the worst public approval ratings of his presidency, with record numbers of Americans saying they disapprove of his job performance and his once-hefty advantages over Republicans in Congress eroded in many areas, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

His position is all the more striking when compared with his standing a year ago, as he was preparing for his second inauguration after a solid reelection victory. That high note proved fleeting as the president faced a series of setbacks, culminating in the botched rollout of his Affordable Care Act two months ago.

Approval rates of both parties in Congress remain worse than Obama’s. Still, it is the president who has suffered the most damage from his administration’s self-inflicted wounds and a year of partisan conflict that included a partial shutdown of the government.

Obama’s standing is of particular concern to congressional Democrats as they look to next year’s midterm elections. Parties that control the White House suffer — sometimes significantly — in midterm campaigns when the president’s approval rating is below 50 percent.

White House officials think that since the health-care Web site (HealthCare.gov) is now working better than it was in October and November, they have an opportunity to regroup. The results of the poll offer some hope for the White House, but in general the findings reinforce the perceptions of a president in trouble.

On several key measures, Obama has lost significant ground to his Republican opponents in Congress. On the question of who is seen as better able to handle the country’s main problems, Obama and Republicans are tied at 41 percent. A year ago, the president’s advantage was 15 points and at this stage in 2010 it was still five points.

Obama also has lost the lead he enjoyed on who could better deal with the economy. Today Republicans are at 45 percent to Obama’s 41 percent. Last year at this time, it was Obama at 54 percent and congressional Republicans at 36 percent. A 26-point Obama advantage a year ago on who would better protect the middle class has fallen to just six points in the latest survey.

He has lost ground on these measures among women, liberals and younger Americans — key members of his winning electoral coalition.

To read entire story, click here.