Barack Obama
Barack Obama Reuters

US President Barack Obama's approval ratings stand at about 45%, according to the latest Gallup poll - but most Americans prefer even television presidents over their real-life Commander-in-Chief.

Reuters reports Tuesday that, by its own poll, 54% of Americans disapprove of Obama, versus just 46% who approve. 

In contrast, 89% of respondents were favorable toward "24"'s David Palmer, 82% toward "The West Wing"'s Jed Bartlet, and 78% toward "Battlestar Gallactica"s Laura Roslin. 

60% of respondents favored "Scandal"'s Fitzgerald Grant; 57% approved of "House of Cards"'s Frank Underwood. 

Tevi Troy, a presidential historian and expert on pop culture and the White House, told the news agency that the approval ratings are more due to a lack of partisan politics in television universes than a reflection of Obama's actual performance. 

"Pretty much half the country is going to be predisposed against you just because that's the way we line up with Republicans and Democrats," Troy said.

Unscripted, real-life presidents sometimes stumble, he added. One exception: Ronald Reagan, who was an actor before joining political life, and knew how to keep polished under the blinding lights of news cameras. 

But Obama maintains a certain sense of humor about it, according to the agency - as the current President quipped during a photo-op with Netflix's chief executive that Underwood "gets a lot of stuff done." 

"I wish things were that ruthlessly efficient," he added. 

Sarah Leah Lawent contributed to this report