Obama's Crummy Year: The Presidency In 2014 by the Numbers

PHOTO: U.S. President Barack Obama speaks on Dec. 3, 2014 in Washington, DC.Mark Wilson/Getty Images
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks on Dec. 3, 2014 in Washington, DC.

Fresh off his announcement about normalizing diplomatic relations with Cuba, President Obama today will hold what will likely be his final press conference of the year before the first family jets off to Hawaii for 17 days of R and R.

Here's a look at how the commander-in-chief has fared this year:

  • He has a 41 percent job approval rating in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll out this week, a single point from his career low, with 54 percent disapproving.

  • His approval rating averaged just 43 percent in 2014, making it his worst year by a significant margin.

  • His rating on the economy is essentially flat; 52 percent disapprove, despite recent economic gains. Fifty-four percent disapprove of his work on international affairs, a steadily negative majority since September. He’s gained 9 points on handling immigration, but only to 38 percent approval, with 55 percent disapproving. And for only the second time, numerically more disapprove than approve of his handling of terrorism, 48-43 percent.

  • He’s presided over the steepest drop-off in Democratic self-identification we’ve ever seen. Just 26 percent of Americans now identify themselves as Democrats, down 6 points from late October to the fewest on record since the start of ABC/Post polling in 1981. (More are independents; Republican Party ID is flat, but the GOP’s favorability rating has risen sharply.)

  • Obama’s career-long job approval rating, 50 percent on average, lags all three of his immediate two-term predecessors at this point in their tenure.

Annual average job approval ratings
Barack Obama George W. Bush Bill Clinton Ronald Reagan
6th year 43% 39% 62% 63%
5th year 48% 46% 58% 63%
4th year 49% 50% 55% 57%
3rd year 48% 62% 51% 53%
2nd year 51% 74% 50% 48%
1st year 60% 72% 52% 62%
6-year average 50% 57% 55% 58%

  • He’s at 29 percent approval among whites, the lowest of his presidency; not only do 67 percent disapprove, but a majority, 53 percent, does so strongly. Nearly two-thirds of nonwhites, by contrast, approve of Obama’s work in office.

  • Previous results also have indicated the president’s problems: He reached career lows in both favorability and empathy – understanding the problems of people like you – in a pre-election ABC/Post poll. His career low job approval, 40 percent, was Oct. 12.

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