Obama begins 2011 with slightly lower approval rating

Los Angeles TimesDecember 31, 2010 

Despite a strong showing during the lame-duck session of Congress, President Barack Obama closes out his second year in office with a slightly lower approval rating than at the end of 2009, according to a Gallup tracking poll.

The poll released Thursday found that the president's approval rating was 47 percent, down slightly from his post-midterm-election peak of 49 percent but close to his average of 46 percent during that period. During the week between Christmas 2009 and New Year's Day, Obama's approval rating ranged from 51 percent to 53 percent.

Obama's standing is better than two recent presidents who went on to win re-election. At comparable points during their presidencies, Bill Clinton had a 40 percent approval rating and Ronald Reagan had a 43 percent rating. Two one-term presidents, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush, stood at 51 percent and 63 percent, respectively. George W. Bush finished his second year at 61 percent.

Obama's relatively stable rating comes in the weeks since the electoral drubbing that turned control of the House of Representatives over to the GOP, and the post-election session of Congress. It was during that session that Obama negotiated a deal with Republicans to extend the George W. Bush-era tax cuts, got Senate ratification of an arms treaty with Russia and helped successfully lobby for repeal of the law that barred gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.

Many of the measures passed during the lame-duck session were supported by a plurality or, in some cases, a majority of voters, according to recent Gallup polls.

The tracking poll results are based on telephone interviews with 1,531 adults between Dec. 26 and Dec. 28. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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