How Obama is like Harry Truman and George W. Bush — in two charts

As far as public opinion goes, President Obama has been in a second-term slump. Where does he stand right now? In between where George W. Bush and Harry Truman stood at comparable points in their presidencies, according to new data from Gallup.

Obama's average approval rating between late-July and last Saturday was 44.5 percent, marking a third straight quarter the president's number dropped, the Gallup data show.

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The 2013 decline is not surprising. Obama's approval rating was on the rise through 2012 and the beginning of 2013 -- when he was fresh off a reelection victory. But since that time, he's dealt with revelations about sweeping government surveillance, tried to convince a war-weary public and Congress to take military action in Syria, and engaged in a lengthy fiscal debate involving a government shutdown. That's not exactly smooth sailing.

What it means is that dating back to the middle of the 20th century, Obama's 19th quarter in office is most comparable to Bush's and Truman's; their approval ratings were 43.9 percent and 45 percent, respectively.

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It's far too early to draw any definitive judgments about how Obama's second term will be viewed by the public. As the months and years go on, here's one thing worth keeping in mind: Presidents have by and large been less popular in their second terms than their first.

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