The average price for a gallon of gas is $3.24, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, up dramatically from $1.83 in 2009.
But annual deficits, while still above $1 trillion a year, have dropped from a record peak of $1.4 trillion in 2009. The economy is growing, posting a 3.1 percent rise in gross domestic product in the third quarter last year, compared with a 5.2 percent drop in January 2009.
Speaking on ABC’s “This Week” program Sunday, White House adviser David Plouffe said there are “atmospheric differences” between now and four years ago.
“We, obviously, had an economy that was collapsing all around us, and he was a first-term president. So at that time, he’s still putting together his team, his Cabinet, his agenda,” Mr. Plouffe said. “I think, now, the economy is still too weak but recovering. And so the question is, right now, is building on that as opposed to just simply trying to stem the bleeding. It’s a big difference.”
Mr. Obama has said he is well-aware of what has come to be called the “second-term curse,” as presidents who get re-elected stumble — often as they deal with scandals or policies from their first terms.
Gallup reported that approval ratings dropped by double digits in the final four years of four of the past six presidents to win second terms. Each of those four averaged well above 50 percent approval during their first terms.
Ratings rose during the second terms of two presidents, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. Both of them averaged 50 percent approval in their first terms, weighted down by sluggish economies that improved during their final four years.
Mr. Obama’s first term was strikingly similar to those two. He averaged a 49 percent rating amid the worst economy since the Great Depression.
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Stephen Dinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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