As his first year in office draws to a close, President Carter's popularity rating has leveled off after a downward trend.

Currently, a 56 per cent majority of Americans say they approve of the way Carter is handling his job as President, while 29 per cent disapprove and 15 per cent are undecided.

Carter's current job rating is 19 percentage points below his high point of 75, recorded in March after he had been in office for two months.

As the decline in the President's popularity has leveled off, so has the drop in those enthusiastically endorse his handling of the job.

In the current survey about one person in five approves strongly of the way Carter is doing his job. This is the same level of enthusiasm as recorded in October, but represents a sharp drop from March when 42 per cent expressed strong approval.

Here is the first question asked in the survey:

Do you approve or disapprove of the way Carter is handling his job as President?

And this question was asked to determine how strongly people either approve or disapprove of Carter's stewardship:

How strongly would you say you approve-disapprove - very strongly or not so strongly?

The results reported today are based on interviews with 1,455 adults, 18 and order, taken in more 300 localities during the period Nov. 18-21.