The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

December 31, 2013

DIGITS: Optimism over 2014 roughly a 50-50 deal

(Continued)

This year marks the first substantial dip in the president's approval since 2010. After a well-regarded first year (58 percent approval on average in 2009), Obama's approval rating dipped to 50 percent in 2010, then generally held steady — 51 percent on average approved in 2011, 52 percent in 2012.

LITTLE LOVE FOR CONGRESS

About 82 percent of Americans disapproved of the way Congress handled its job this year, according to an average of AP-GfK polls. That's 20 points higher than average disapproval rate in 2009 and the worst since the inception of the AP-GfK poll in 2008. In a rare show of party unity, disapproval of Congress topped 80 percent among both Democrats (83 percent) and Republicans (87 percent).

THE ECONOMIC BRIGHT SPOT?

One positive note: More now say the economy is in good shape than have at any prior point in Obama's tenure, though the rating remains fairly anemic. Overall, 26 percent on average described the economy as "good" in this year's polling, up from an average of 23 percent in 2012, 17 percent in 2011, 19 percent in 2010 and an abysmal 11 percent in 2009.

Still, people don't hold much hope for the economy's prospects. Asked to look ahead a year, 37 percent of Americans in the December AP-GfK poll said they thought the general economic situation would worsen, while 33 percent thought it would improve. And while 32 percent thought the number of unemployed Americans would drop, 36 percent thought more people would lose jobs than get them in 2014.

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AP-GfK Polls: http://www.ap-gfkpoll.com

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Follow Jennifer Agiesta on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/JennAgiesta

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