The latest Gallup-USA Today poll holds grim news for the White House. While 44 percent of Americans says President Obama’s time in office has been a success, 50 percent say it’s been a failure.

(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

The good news for Obama is that voters aren’t impressed by his likely challengers, either. At this point, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney have lower favorability ratings than any nominee from either party in the last five years. A majority of Republican voters say they wish someone else was running for their party’s nomination.

That said, voters are kinder to the candidates as people than as politicians. Fifty-eight percent say Obama has the “personality and leadership” qualities that a president should have, and 53 percent say the same about Romney and Santorum.

Single polls can, of course, be outliers. So for comparison, the Real Clear Politics polling average shows Obama’s job approval at 48.5 percent, his lead over Romney at 5.1 percent, and his lead over Santorum at 6.3 percent. What’s buoying the White House’s hopes is that all those numbers have been on the rise since October, when Obama’s favorability was at 42 percent and he was trailing Romney in head-to-head match-ups.