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As President Obama wraps up the first year of his second term, his standing with the public has hit a new low, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released Tuesday.

The poll finds President Obama’s approval rating at just 43 percent, with 55 percent disapproving. This represents his lowest rating ever in a Washington Post-ABC News poll, and a precipitous drop from one year ago. In December 2012, coming off his successful re-election, 50 percent approved of the president and just 35 percent disapproved.

Despite signs of an economic recovery, most Americans are not confident in the state of the economy—39 percent say that, based on their personal experience, the economy is not recovering. Of the 59 percent who believe a recovery has begun, 44 percent say it has been weak. Additionally, 79 percent think the country is in recession, while just 19 percent believe the recession is over (it actually ended in June, 2009).

Perhaps because of this economic dissatisfaction, the poll finds that Americans now trust congressional Republicans to handle the economy over President Obama by a 45 to 41 percent margin, with 11 percent saying “neither.” This is a significant shift from last year, when President Obama held a 54 to 36 percent advantage on the question. Despite this, however, the public still blames the nation’s economic problems on George W. Bush over President Obama by a 50 to 38 percent margin.

On the broader question of who people trust to cope with the main problems facing the nation over the next few years, President Obama and Republicans in Congress are tied at 41 percent, with 15 percent saying neither.

The poll also contains mixed news on the Affordable Care Act. The public strongly disapproves of President Obama’s handling of the law’s implementation, 62 to 34 percent. When compared to congressional Republicans, though, the president still comes out on top; 42 percent trust him to do a better job implementing the law, while 37 percent trust the GOP (17 percent trust neither).

Perceptions of the law itself are improving; 46 percent approve of the Affordable Care Act, and 49 percent oppose it. This represents a big rebound from last month’s Washington Post-ABC News poll, in which nearly 60 percent disapproved of the law at the height of its rollout problems.

President Obama’s poor numbers create a real risk that he could hurt his party’s candidates in the 2014 midterm elections. There is a silver lining for Democrats, however: The president remains significantly more popular than his Republican rivals. Just 24 percent approve of the way congressional Republicans are handling their jobs, with 73 percent disapproving. Congressional Democrats hold a better (but still low) rating of 34 to 64 percent. Democrats also hold a narrow lead on the generic congressional ballot, 47 to 45 percent.

The full results of the poll can be read here.

AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski


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