President Barack Obama had a politically challenging year, but Gallup’s year-end job approval chart really drives the point home.
Fresh off a blowout re-election over Republican challenger Mitt Romney, Obama started the year off with polls in the mid to upper 50s and an ambitious agenda that included immigration reform, expanded gun control and regulations to limit climate change.
Growing political problems — including the fight over across-the-board sequestration budget cuts, the NSA revelations, the government shutdown and the plagued rollout of the Affordable Care Act — took their toll on the President’s standing, according to Gallup.
Going forward into Obama’s second term, Gallup notes precedents of both recovery and stagnation. Specifically, Gallup sees the state of the economy as acutely tied to his poll numbers.
Prior Gallup analysis shows that Obama’s overall job approval rating is highly linked to his approval rating on the economy. This means that under normal circumstances, if his overall job rating is to increase, not only does the economy have to improve but Americans have to acknowledge it and give Obama credit for it. In 2013, despite BLS reports of reduced unemployment, a soaring stock market, and other positive economic signs, Americans maintained both a net-negative view of the economy and a negative view of Obama’s handling of it. Clearly, they are looking for stronger economic growth before relinquishing their negative posture on the economy — something Obama will need to focus on.