by Matthew Rusling
WASHINGTON, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama's approval rating is down from a year ago amid the troubled rollout of his signature healthcare reforms, a Gallup poll released Tuesday found.
Obama averaged 45.8 percent job approval during his fifth year in office. That is down more than two percentage points from his fourth-year average, and slightly better than his career-low of 44. 4 percent in his third year. His most recent quarterly average stands at 41.2 percent, the poll showed.
Obama's fifth year in office, which included the troubled rollout of his signature healthcare law, or Obamacare, and a partial government shutdown, was a tough one. Problems continue to surface amid the healthcare rollout, with experts contending the law's centerpiece website is an easy target for hackers.
The rollout has faced myriad hurdles since the Oct. 1 launch of healthcare.gov, through which potential buyers can choose from various healthcare plans. Experts said the healthcare debacle could hurt the president and Democrats even more if problems persist.
On the heels of his re-election victory, Obama's fifth year started off strong, with consistent majority approval. However, the president's numbers dwindled over the course of 2013, with his latest Gallup daily tracking poll job approval rating, based on Jan. 17-19 interviewing, at 40 percent.
In the just-completed 20th quarter of Obama's presidency, from Oct. 20, 2013-Jan. 19, 2014, Obama averaged 41.2 percent job approval. That stands slightly above his worst quarter, the 11th of his presidency, in which an average 41 percent of Americans approved of him, Gallup found.
Obama's approval ratings dropped in every quarter of his fifth year in office, with the declines exceeding three points in each of the last two quarters, Gallup found.
From a historical perspective, Obama's fifth-year approval average is in the lower range. It is similar to former President George W. Bush's 45.7 percent but lower than those for Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.