President Barack Obama greets people on the tarmac before boarding Air Force One in Honolulu, Jan. 4, 2014. 
Carolyn Kaster/AP

Positive start to 2014 for Obama: poll

Updated

A new Quinnipiac poll shows Americans’ disapproval of the president has tapered off at the start of the year. At the end of 2013, Obama’s approval rating dropped from 46-48% in August to 38-57% in December. But Wednesday’s poll found the president with a 41-53% approval rating–not a drastic uptick, but not a declining trend either. 

“The President returns to chilly Washington DC from his Hawaii holidays to a slightly warmer reception from American voters,” Quinnipiac assistant director Tim Malloy said in a press release.

Obama is likely to use his upcoming State of the Union address this month to set a positive tone for this crucial midterm election year. As Congress returns to Washington, the Obama administration has the opportunity at the start of the year to push key agenda items that would curry favor among his Democratic base–namely, raising the federal minimum wage and extending unemployment insurance benefits for millions, two issues that voters are in favor of, according to the Quinnipiac poll.

MORE: Obama prepares to hit reset button

The Senate on Tuesday advanced a short-term extension of federal unemployment benefits, passing the ball to the House where Speaker John Boehner has already expressed hesitation.

“One month ago, I personally told the White House that another extension of temporary emergency unemployment benefits should not only be paid for but include something to help put people back to work. To date, the president has offered no such plan,” Boehner said.

Meanwhile, House Republicans are continuing their attack on the Affordable Care Act, and hoping to tie Democratic candidates this year to the botched rollout of Healthcare.gov.

“These Democrats repeated the lie that people could keep their health care plans under ObamaCare,” Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus said in a statement regarding the RNC’s new attack ads. “Cancelled plans and increased premiums prove they cannot be trusted to keep their promises.”

The Quinnipiac poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Republicans continue to disapprove of the president’s approach to health care, with 93% polled expressing disapproval.

Barack Obama

Positive start to 2014 for Obama: poll

Updated