Washington (CNN) - A second term president, battling back against a number of controversies, and facing opposition in Congress to his proposals.
President Barack Obama's White House has spent much of the past six weeks reacting to controversies over a massive U.S. government surveillance program, the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of tea party and other conservative groups who applied for tax exempt status, the administration's handling and reaction to last September's attack in Benghazi that left the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans dead, and the Justice Department's secret collection of journalists' phone records as part of a government investigation into classified leaks.
Obama's drive for increased gun control legislation was defeated in Congress, and his current push for immigration reform faces an uncertain future on Capitol Hill.
The president's numbers have edged down in public opinion polling from earlier this year, when his approval rating ranged from the upper 40's to low 50's in most national surveys. Obama currently stands at 46% approval and 48% disapproval, according to a CNN Poll of Polls which averages the six non-partisan, live operator, national polls conducted over the past two and a half weeks.
"The economy is improving and most Americans are more optimistic, but President Obama is not benefiting as much as you might expect, Why? It's pretty clear the stagnation and controversies of Washington are taking a toll. Plus, there's not a lot for him to celebrate on the world stage," says CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.
So how does he compare to his most recent two-term predecessors, five months into their second terms in the White House?
George W. Bush's approval rating stood at 45% in June of 2005 in CNN/USA Today/Gallup polling, down from 52% at the beginning of that year.
A top priority for Bush in the first months of his second term in office was his push for Social Security reform. But Bush's proposal didn't fare so well in public opinion polling and it ran into opposition from congressional Republicans, who controlled both houses of Congress. The measure never made it to full votes in either chamber.
The president had better luck with his calls for Congress to produce an energy plan. Four months after urging lawmakers to take action, Bush signed a bill into law.
On the world stage, the ongoing insurgency in Iraq (May 2005 was the country's deadliest month in the conflict since the start of the war in 2003) was starting to take a political toll on the president.
Bush didn't fare any better in the second half of 2005, as he and his administration were blasted by critics over what was considered the federal government's slow response to Hurricane Katrina.
"It was the competence question that was the undoing of the second George W. Bush term. Rising opposition to the Iraq war and then a series of additional stumbles – Social Security and immigration, and of course Katrina," adds King. "Many Obama critics are now raising that 'competence question' when they talk about the IRS controversy or even Edward Snowden's ability to walk out the door with so many highly classified government secrets. Nearly six months into the critical first year of the second term, not much has happened, and getting things done only gets harder as you come closer to the midterm election and then the race to attach the 'lame duck' label."
The previous two two-termers in the White House were faring better nearly half way into the first year of their second term. According to CNN/USA Today/Gallup polling, Bill Clinton stood at 55% in June of 1997, a slight edging down of three points from the beginning of that year. And Ronald Reagan stood at 58% in June 1985, down from 62% at the start of that year, according to Gallup polling.
The president in recent history who started out the highest in the polls and suffered the biggest plunge was Richard Nixon, who nosedived from 67% approval at the start of his second term in 1973 to 44% by that June, according to Gallup polling.
"Nixon started off the year with a typical inaugural honeymoon bolstered by an agreement that ended the Vietnam War. By mid-summer, congressional Watergate hearings had begun to consume his presidency," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "The economy was also not in great shape - something that hurts incumbents of both parties, regardless of any other issues they have to address."