Obama Approval Ratings Lowest of Presidency

President Barack Obama's approval rating has dropped more than 18 points since taking office to an all-time low of 44.7 percent, according to a new Gallup poll.

The results of the poll, released Thursday, average approval ratings from more than 90 thousand respondents during the third quarter of 2010, July 20 through October 19. Only three presidents since 1954—Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, and Jimmy Carter—received lower marks in the seventh quarter of their presidencies.

More Americans also say they don't think Obama deserves a second term in office, 54 percent, to 39 percent who say the president should be reelected. Only 38 percent of respondents in a 1994 Gallup survey said they thought Clinton deserved a second term, but the president earned a decisive 49-point victory in the 1996 elections; former President George W. Bush enjoyed reelection support from 62 percent of respondents in a 2002 survey, before going on to his second term in 2004.

These numbers may tell more of a story than just the prospect of a second term. Seventh-quarter approval ratings in every president's term come just before critical midterm elections. Republicans made huge congressional gains on their "Contract With America" campaign in 1994, when Clinton's approval and reelect ratings were low. The GOP held steady under Bush in 2002's midterms.

Obama's low ratings are likely unwelcome news to Democrats, who are fighting to keep Republicans from winning the 39 House seats and 10 Senate seats needed to gain control of Congress.