Obama receives mixed reviews for his first-year performance, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. His approval rating stands at 53 percent, with 44 percent disapproving. Among independents, 49 percent approve, the lowest of any of his recent predecessors at this point in their presidencies…

The good feelings that surrounded Obama in the months after Inauguration Day have faded. The week he was inaugurated, just 19 percent of Americans said the country was heading in the right direction; by April, that had risen to 50 percent. Today it has slipped to 37 percent.

The poll also shows how much ground Obama has lost during his first year of trying to convince the public that more government is the answer to the country’s problems. By 58 percent to 38 percent, Americans said they prefer smaller government and fewer services to larger government with more services. Since he won the Democratic nomination in June 2008, the margin between those favoring smaller over larger government has moved in Post-ABC polls from five points to 20 points.

White House advisers maintain that many of Obama’s actions are temporary and not a permanent enlargement of federal power at the expense of private industry.