While 2011 was a volatile year for the president, he didn't lose all that much ground. He ended the year on an upswing, and while he still isn't in great shape for the election, he is heading upwards and things are looking a lot better than they did a few months ago.
For August, Obama averaged 43.8 percent job approval and 50.7 percent disapproval. Among other records he set this month, this is the widest "underwater" gap he's ever posted, with a spread of 6.9 percent.
Obama just had his most stable month ever in the public opinion polls, capping off a remarkable year of polling stability. Were you to just read the headlines or listen to the soundbites, you may have a different impression.
Augusts haven't been very kind to Obama. Two years ago, August was "Reverend Wright" month. Last year, August was "death panel" month. By that measure, at least, this past August wasn't actually all that bad.