United States President Barack Obama has officially entered his second term. As pundits look at what he has accomplished in his first term, a new poll shows that Obama averaged a 49 percent approval rating in his four years in office.
According to Gallup, the president had the third-lowest average approval rating for post-World War II presidents. Former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford had lower approval ratings, with 45.5 percent and 47.2 percent, respectively.
The only presidents to maintain an approval rating average above the 60 percent mark were former Presidents Lyndon Baines Johnson (74.2 percent), John F. Kennedy (70.1 percent), Dwight D. Eisenhower (69.6 percent), George W. Bush (62.2 percent) and George H.W. Bush (60.9 percent).
President Obama’s approval rating is close to former Presidents Bill Clinton (49.6 percent) and Ronald Reagan (50.3 percent).
The president’s highest job approval rating was during his first year in office when it stood at 57 percent. His worst came in the third year of his presidency when it sunk all the way down to 44 percent.
“Obama's first term was a difficult one, with approval ratings on average lower than most of his predecessors' ratings,” wrote Gallup in the Implications section of its poll. “However, he was able to maintain sufficient public support, particularly during the critical final months of the 2012 election campaign, to win a second term in office.”
Since entering office, President Obama has increased the debt nearly $5 trillion, while also maintaining four straight trillion-dollar-plus deficits – the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects the budget deficit will dip to under $800 billion, but rise back up to more than $1 trillion at the end of the president’s second term.
He has also been criticized over his foreign policy, which has included numerous drone strikes in nations such as Pakistan and Yemen, bombing Libya, expanding the War in Afghanistan and maintaining a significant presence in Iraq.
Others are concerned over his support for civil liberty violations, including the signing of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), renewing the Patriot Act, supporting the Military Commissions Act of 2009 and signing a five-year extension of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
The president now enters a battle with the Republican leadership over raising the debt limit, something he opposed when he was the Illinois Senator. The GOP is hoping to gain concessions, but Obama has confirmed that he would bypass the Congress and use executive action, another policy he opposed when he first ran for president.