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.
– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
"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
Also on the CNN Political Ticker
– Graham says he'd break no-tax 'pledge'
– Cantor: Voters more concerned about problem solving than pledge
– Christie gets post-Sandy approval rating bump
– Norquist says he'll go after pledge-breakers
– Rep. Capito to run for Senate in West Virginia
Silly poll coming in such proximity to the election as there is a huge potential for selection bias in the sample. The percentage that think it will be positive mirrors his margin of victory. Those that voted against him still dont like him and think of things in negative terms. Those that did vote for him will tend to take a more favorable view of the future. I hope they did not pay much for this poll, it could have been guessed with an acceptable margin of error
The 20 percentile differential has nothing to do with the McConnell’s sole agenda of his party for the past 4 years? Place blame where it is due.
This "article" is not news and shouldn't even be published. Congress could resolve the 'fiscal cliff' issue that they are at fault for extending by solving it NOW – not at the end of the month. If you think we will spend for the holidays, hoping for the best, you need to think again. Congress is impotent – and the Republicans are so angry they can't see straight.
As the two political parties come more together on behalf of the people, the influence of the Grovers, Fox News, and bitter recalcitrant losers will continue to wane and the people's optimism in the light of the imminent success of America's traditional dynamism will continue brighten. We're on the right track.
People thought Barack Obama was the second coming & he would be able to save the world with the blink of an eye. I realized he was human & had a hard road to walk in the wake of Bush deficit and efforts leading to the economic that unfolded over the past 4 year. but I also know President Obama has done more than most & will do even more know that he knows he cant expect Republican support. He just has to do what is best for most Americans while we pray the uneducated can see the fruits of his greatest works to come!
Great Poll CNN! Look at those astonishing numbers...you know, the people polled! 1,023 people were polled! LMAO! So, they write this article to make people believe that the who country (over 265 MILLION people) feel this way? The Media does it again. They certainly didnt ask me. Polls are nothing but propaganda! Bunch of BS!
Had your chance to change that in November. Good luck.
Those numbers have no where to go, but down. The outlook is so grim, there is no way those numbers can rise.
Oh I see......still he got the relection and CNN did not say these kind of polls before the election? CNN is very fair and balanced. I think american voters are stupid?
How convenient that the most damning piece of data being the pessimism (err wisdom) of the seniors was left out. Mentioned so they can say they 'reported' it but CNN you didn't report HOW BIG was the percentage? I'm guessing it was monumental. The only ones being scammed by Obama are those liberal acolytes, less mature and life sure, and of course the governmentally dependent (usually by choice cause working is MUCH tougher than walking to the mailbox and filling out a form sheet once or twice a year right?
Yeah right!! That's not what my polling sample is saying!
We should be less optimistic since Obama is our president with an abysmal record.
This article means that the majority of Americans are likely complete idiots. You have to be to vote for someone you have no faith in or is completely in over his head. Sort of fitting, a dumb president for dumb voters.
Its going to be a long time before we are feeling good again .... no matter who is president.
I love it. CNN samples 1,024 adults from an adult (over 18) population of nearly 237,744,634 Americans. Do the math. The "public" according to CNN represents roughly .000004% of the US adult population. Statistics, in the right hands (or wrong hands, depending on one's point of view), can be made to tell whatever story you want.
From my prospective and reading the numbers , we are on the verge of reaching a full employment.
Yes, people are skeptical but it is the cold true. Now , my advice , if you don't have job or you don't like what you are doing, start improving you skills .
You don't need Phd or master degree.
This country is ours , if we don't fill the gap of positions available companies will hire talent from overseas.
You will blame the President but he is not the one struggling to pay bills.
So step up and find better jobs.
Less optimistic? I’m surprised 56% of the people feel they will be better off four years from now – that is the real story – I want to know what makes them feel so optimistic?
Who is surprised or shocked by this story – throughout the country people have lost jobs, hold loans on homes that are worthless, and the political establishment does not have concrete solutions. It seems logical to me that our population is turning pessimistic. To add to the misery, don't be surprised if this year’s holiday shopping falls flat as well. I’m sorry to say it, but it is going to be a long time before we dig ourselves out of the hole we are in – a year from now, 56% optimism will be a distant memory; I’m guessing 36% this time next year.
People are less optimistic because they are wating for the other shoe to drop from the president. I think they are understanding he is not up to the job.
Retailers are applauding Black Friday and Cyber Monday - best Christmas season shopping in 5 years ..... Thank God Obama is president and not John McCain/Sarah Palin or God forbid, Romney. in December of 2008 the DOW was at or below 8,000. Thank God Obama is president working for us small guys that BTW, are keeping the economy alive.
Duh!!! Didn't he get a lot of votes because liberals/democrats thought he needed another chance?
This is "breaking news"? Did nothing happen in the world today?
This is breaking News?
What bothers me most are the politicians who signed this so-called "pledge". The only pledge they should take is the "Pledge of Allegiance" to the United States of America. Certainly not to some publicity seeker such as Mr. Norquist.
Life is good. Obama won. Republicans are reeling and turning on each other. The economy was going to come back no matter who was elected, so now I don't have to listen to Republicans take all the credit for it because Romney was elected. The stock market is good. Housing is up. Energy generation is skyrocketing and new breakthroughs like bloombox and liquid metal batteries promise big things in the next decade.
Republicans can continue to just whine, complain, spread doom, obstruct and continually lie about everything and I don't care anymore.
I am not optimistic, and financially my family is doing pretty well. My optimism is dashed because I just visited the White House website and was asked to add my voice on the tax issue, but when I clicked to do so, I was asked to "Tell us why it's important to keep middle-class taxes from going up:" Uh, what if that's not what I think, Pres?