AP, please define “lukewarm support” for Obama

The AP's Liz Sidoti recently typed up these GOP talking points [emphasis added]:

Republicans are on offense in scores of House and Senate races as persistent economic woes and lukewarm support for President Barack Obama continue to weaken Democrats' hold on Congress.

And here:

Most Americans say the country is headed in the wrong direction and half of the nation doesn't approve of Obama's job performance.

What Sidoti never did though, was explain what any of that meant. What Sidoti never detailed in her almost comically over-the-top article about the Democrats' impossible electoral chances, was Obama's job approval rating and how that compared to his predecessors.

Sidoti clearly wanted to create the impression that Obama is floundering and unpopular. i.e. He enjoyed only “lukewarm support” and “half the nation” doesn't even support him. But the fact is, Obama enjoys a 50 percent approval rating, according to Gallup, and has done so for the last eight months. Meaning, there's been virtually no movement, up or down, in terms of Obama's support.

Yet Sidoti leaves the impress that Obama is tumbling fast.

As for the “half the nation” swipe, here's what Sidoti leaves out -- the fact that Obama, at this point in his first term, is right at, or above, where scores of his predecessors were 16 months into their first term:

Bill Clinton 51%

Ronald Reagan 45%

Jimmy Carter 42%

Gerald Ford: 41%

UPDATED: The reporting woes continue to spread within the AP. From Andrew Taylor:

Democrats, who hold a comfortable majority, expect to lose seats in November, a typical trend for a new president's party in the first midterm elections. Complicating Democratic prospects are a slide in support for Congress and President Barack Obama as well as the party's agenda.

Obama has suffered a “slide in support,” the AP reports, but doesn't bother to reference any polling data to back up the casual, and erroneous, claim.