Washington (CNN) - A majority of Americans give President Barack Obama a thumbs up on the job he's doing in office, but according to a new national poll they are less optimistic about the country's future than they were four years ago when Obama won the White House for the first time.
A CNN/ORC International survey released Monday indicates that 56% of the public thinks the country will be better off four years from now, with four in ten saying it will be worse than they are now.
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"The 56% figure's not bad, but it's way down from the 76% who felt that way in late 2008 after Barack Obama had won his first presidential bid," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
Four years ago, as Obama took office, the nation’s economy was in a free-fall. Economic conditions have obviously improved from those days, with the country currently in a slow recovery.
Forty-three percent say things are going well in the country right now, virtually unchanged from just before the election, with 57% saying things are going badly.
The survey also indicates that 54% say they are enthusiastic or optimistic about the president's second term, with 44% pessimistic or afraid. The 54% figure is a bit less than the 58% who felt that way about President George W. Bush's second tour of duty in November of 2004.
Fifty-two percent approve of the way Obama is handling his job as president, with 43% saying they disapprove. Obama's approval rating is virtually unchanged from his pre-election approval rating of 51%. And it's changed little this year: Since February the president's approval rating ranged between 49% and 52% in CNN polling.
"The generation gap that was evident in presidential vote still remains, but the gender gap has vanished, at least temporarily," Holland said. "President Obama's approval rating is 58% among younger Americans, but a majority of older Americans disapprove of Obama. But Obama's approval rating among men and women is exactly the same - 52% among men, 52% among women."
Will a first term under his belt make Obama a better president?
Fifty-three percent say the president's experience from his first four years in the White House will make him a better president over the next four years, with 13% saying it will make him a worse president and one in three saying it will make no difference.
According to the poll, 58% have confidence that Obama will make good choices to replace Cabinet members who leave his administration, although two possible replacements for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sen. Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, are not nearly as popular or well known as Clinton.
The election returns did not appear to change public opinion of Obama, with his favorable rating now at 56%, but Mitt Romney's favorable rating has tumbled to 43%, possibly a response to the Republican presidential nominee's remarks last week that he lost the election because Obama offered "gifts" to African-Americans, Hispanics, and young voters. Romney's favorable rating dropped six points to 43%, with his unfavorable rating edging up to 50%.
One other finding from the survey: Fifty-one percent oppose the new national health care law, with 42% saying they favor the measure, known officially as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and nicknamed by many as "Obamacare." But only 37% oppose the 2010 law, passed by a Democratic controlled Congress and signed into law by Obama, because it is too liberal, with 9% opposing the law because it's not liberal enough.
The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International from November 16-18, with 1,023 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.
CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report
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This poll can't possibly be a surprise to anyone. Even if Romney had won, the mood of the country would be no different, and if anything, worse. This country has some serious issues, including losing good jobs to offshoring-jobs that will never come back. The government is going to push out retirement age. Do the math. If people can't retire and we have fewer good jobs, then let the suffering begin. We are going to have to look at some European solutions like shortened work weeks so more people can hold a job. My best advice to anyone would be to think carefully about having children-this country is in serious decline and will not be able to compete going forward due to corporate greed.
maybe it's Gods way of telling us to stop being so greedy, this group against that group, nobody wants to see others succeed, we base success on screwing the other person (get that one he went to college, or get that one he owns a small business, or get that one he is different), time for a 1980's rebuilding america mentality, bruce springsteen needs a new album, people need pensions and factories need to come home – then the people will be happy
The CNN/ORC polling- The same group whose polls told us Romney was ahead and probably going to win, or at least tie..(LOL) It should be noted that the poll discussed here included nearly 3 times more land line respondants than cell phone respondants. So maybe if you can't afford a cell phone ( if that's possible these days) or you're a luddite you might be more pessimistic.
This is not breaking news.
No kidding, you CNN and democrats (same thing) are geniouses!
Her's what the end of Obama's second term will look like
Gasoline @ $6-$8/gallon
Electric bills doubled
Food costs 50%-100% increase
20 Trillion plus National Deficit
America's credit rating downgraded two more times
Jimmy Carter stagflation (yes printing money does come home to roost)
unemployment chronically stuck in the 8% government statistic range 14% in the real world range.
Black unemployment at 20% overall and 40% for those under 25.
Welcome to the new normal
I have not trusted the man ever since he went on an apoplogy tour
What I think a lot of folks are finally coming to terms with is just how big the mess was GW left behind. They get that President Obama could not have possibly fixed all that was wrong in 4 years. (Even Clinton said, no President could have fixed all this mess in that length of time.) What we do like is that we are slowly but surely going in the right direction. So with that reality check finally in place, 52% of us understand what President Obama is trying to do and we approve of what and how he is trying to accomplish this much needed recovery...
Again with the polls? Please, give us some rest! All of this begins to be boring.
The Americans are less optimistic, but... they re-elected Obama. Does it make sense? What does this article want? Does it want comments from the Republicans? It got them. I won't read any other provocative or sarcastic article until January 2013, at least...Unless I cannot fall asleep.
This president offers nothing to this country, except his narcissism, radical agenda, and lies. And he didn't get re-elected with a mandate, as so many of you wish to think. It was a very narrow win. Half of the country knows how divisive and destructive he is, and will continue to believe it – he has given no reason not to. Our economy is in the tank, our national security is at risk, and our freedoms are being stolen by the minute – all on Obama's watch.
Al Ford, in reply to your comment I agree that it is ludicrous to have only 1000 people included in a national survey. Unfortunately, this has become standard in polling and is considered to be appropriate when determining a whole population's view on an issue. This is one of the reasons why election polls are often wrong or misleading.
These are the same polls that had him losing the election...the tea baggers aka KKK,n/Norquist need to go, let freedom ring
Who is better off in 2012 than 2008? Optimistic? about what? The government is a mess not matter who is running it, or should I say not running it. Obama is our president like it or not, personally I could do without him, he divides the nation in a time that requires unity. The news reports only what they feel will get a reaction from people. The few who spew news about who is doing well and who is not are the reporters who in the end all make millions reading from a teleprompter telling all of us what to think. Optimistic? No not really our country is a joke!
We need to help Canada Annex Cuba. We will change our role from policing the world to being real estate agents. Canada in return will no longer have to use Florida to vacation and have their own warm weather Provence. A set back is a set up for a come back thank you Mr. Obama!
We are less optimistic because of the racists that elected the black boy.
We are in a different time where personal responsability is non-existent except in very minute cultural and religious circles. America has had its rise and has been on the decline and Americans decided give up as it elected a President who wants to drain it of its resources.
Wats so breaking about this ? Omg CNN is getting useless
The majority is dangerously ignorant. Mickey Mouse could have made the economy look good if we let him borrow and spend 5.5 trillion dollars in order pump up the economy. Obama is a horrible person and we will pay dearly for allowing all this deficit spending. Obama is dead wrong, the best days for America are long gone if we do not change directions.
I am not optimistic about the direction Obama will direct the United States. Look at his mentors, his father, mother, friends, colleges & wife and you will see the Anti -American sentiment in all of them. They build and shaped him and his policies. He has a twisted view of America. I do not respect him or his views. I don't acknowledge him as our leader. However I am optimistic of the people in America will see how they have been played when the promises turn to lies. That is unless a new vapid pop star comes along and distracts the mindless, illiterate masses.
Wow, a whopping 1,023 people were asked, with a +/-3%pts margin of error, and this is BREAKING NEWS? Really? This is the dumbest poll, even for CNN.
You all should read the actual data, if you can understand it. This poll is meaningless, and is not newsworthy. CNN should be ashamed of themselves for posting such frugal data. I think I'm going to go take a poll at the freshman wing of my local highschool and call it breaking news.
I don't believe the poll is even remotely close to accurate. The next four years will a repeat of the last four years, except worse. The voters doubled down on failure.
umm Duh? People are more realistic now. This is a good thing for obama.
That's right. Americans are less optimistic than they were 4 years ago. What choice do they have? They can see that that the Congress and the rest of the political system in DC has been reduced to a bunch of children who kick and scream when they don't get thier way or are asked to compromise. When Obama was first elected in 2008, the Republicans made it clear from DAY ONE (quite literally) that they'd do everything in their power to NOT work with the guy and to make him a one term president. Think that's gonna change in a second term? Heck no, they're even more angry now. This is what Americans see and this is why they're not as optimistic- because they see that, no matter how or where Obama wants to lead, little will get done because of continuous Republican obstruction and refusal to compromise. Their version of "compromise" means "my way or the highway". They've made that crystal clear. No wonder optimism has gone out ther window- our leaders fight and throw tantrums and take their ball home- like 8 year olds.
klmdia – you forgot one important issue in four years. The dollar will be worth about 50% less on the world market if Obama and Bernanke don't quit printing them.