Obama Struggles in Summer

Many presidents experience summer swoon, poll says.

President Barack Obama, shown Friday, Aug. 9, 2013, at the White House in Washington, is seeing declining approval ratings this summer.

President Barack Obama, shown Friday, Aug. 9, 2013, at the White House in Washington, is seeing declining approval ratings this summer.

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President Barack Obama has a chronic case of the summer blues, at least when it comes to his public approval levels.

His average approval rating is at its lowest during the summer every year he's been in office, averaging 49 percent in June, 48 percent in July and 46 percent in August, according to a Gallup poll analysis released Monday. That compares with his two best months, January and May, when his average approval rating since taking office is 52 percent.

[READ: Obama Returns From Vacation]

"The decline in his approval rating from 49 percent in May of this year to 45 percent in August to date may reflect this seasonal pattern in how Americans view the president as much as anything he is or is not doing at the moment," said Jeffrey M. Jones, a Gallup polling analyst, in a memo accompanying the poll results.

Jones said that while many previous presidents also experienced a summer dip, Obama's month-over-month approval decline is somewhat unique.

 

"To the extent a presidential 'summer swoon' is a real phenomenon, it is probably more recent in origin," he said. "Although the averages by month across all presidents since [President Harry] Truman do show some decline between May and August, it is not as consistent as it has been for Obama."

More recently, Obama's White House predecessors Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton also saw their lowest approval averages in June through August while in office, according to Gallup.

[READ: Obama’s Approval Slips Below 50 Percent]

Americans tend to tune out in the summer, Jones said, and this, alongside presidential and congressional vacations, can lead to the lower popularity for occupants of the White House.

But Obama's approval rating has no guaranteed bump coming in the fall, with looming policy battles coming on economic, foreign policy and domestic fronts.

"There will be several significant challenges facing the president when he returns to work, including a return to the debt ceiling issue, the need to pass a budget for the new fiscal year and the need to roll out some of the more significant changes to the healthcare system set to go into effect on Jan. 1," Jones said. "These challenges clearly provide Obama with an opportunity to increase his public support if he handles them well, but also could serve to bring his approval rating down if he does not."

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