The declines are understandable, given the high expectations for Obama when he took office and the erosion in his overall job approval rating over the past year. Last March, he averaged 62% job approval, compared to ratings in the high 40% range today. On a proportional basis, however, the declines in his ratings on the environment, energy, and prosperity eclipse those for his overall approval rating.
Gallup asked the same items about George W. Bush throughout his presidency. A comparison of Bush’s year 1 vs. year 2 ratings to Obama’s yields two important distinctions for Bush. First, expectations for how Bush would handle these issues were generally not as high at the outset of his presidency as they were for Obama. Second, Bush’s ratings did not decline nearly as much in his second year, probably due to the rally in public support Bush enjoyed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.