[Rushtalk] Poll: Voters pessimistic as Obama prepares for second inauguration

Carl Spitzer Winblows at lavabit.com
Fri Feb 22 16:03:31 MST 2013

By Peter Schroeder - 01/18/13 05:00 AM ET

President Obama is entering his second term with many of the nation’s
voters still pessimistic or unsure about their economic prospects, a new
poll for The Hill has found.

The president was reelected for another four years by a relatively
comfortable margin, but 39 percent of likely voters say his first four
years were worse than expected, compared to just 18 percent who say he
exceeded expectations. Forty-one percent of those polled said his first
term went as expected.
The president assumed office in the midst of one of the worst financial
meltdowns in U.S. history, and those polled are still feeling the
ensuing recession’s impact four years later. On the economic front, 42
percent say they are worse off now than when Obama first took office,
compared to 26 percent who say they are better off.

Respondents are not significantly more optimistic about the next four
years, either. 

Sixty percent say they do not expect to make major economic strides
during Obama’s second term, compared to just 38 percent who expect to be
better off in 2016. 

Despite the lingering pessimism about the trajectory of the nation’s
economy, the poll does offer a silver lining for the president as he
prepares to take the oath of office again — by a 2-to-1 margin, voters
blame Congress, instead of him, for the nation’s woes.

Fifty percent of those polled blamed Congress the most, compared to just
25 percent placing blame squarely at the feet of Obama. Another 10
percent apiece blamed voters and the media the most.

The president has faced off against lawmakers multiple times in his
first term, and is set to butt heads again in the coming weeks over
raising the debt limit, keeping the government funded and preventing
automatic spending cuts set to take effect under the 2011 debt-ceiling

Voters were split on whether Obama should focus his second term
primarily on jobs and the economy or government spending and debt. 

Thirty-eight percent of those polled said the president should train his
efforts on improving the economy, while 39 percent say his main goal
should be addressing debt and deficits. Across income groups, only those
making less than $30,000 were more likely to want the president to focus
on the economy over the national debt.

Addressing immigration, gun violence, tax reform or something else each
received single-digit support from those polled.

Views on whether Obama’s first term was a missed or exceeded opportunity
largely broke down along partisan lines.

Republicans were much more likely than Democrats to say Obama missed
expectations in his first term. Fifty-nine percent of GOP likely voters
say the president was worse than their expectations, while 82 percent of
Democrats said he either met or exceeded theirs. Forty-eight percent of
voters who did not identify with a party said the president missed
expectations, compared to 41 percent who said he met them, but did not
exceed them.

When it comes to income, the voters most likely to say Obama failed to
meet expectations are also those with the brightest outlook on the
nation’s economy. Of those polled making over $200,000 in income, 48
percent say the president’s first term was worse than expected, compared
to just 13 percent who say it was better.

But at the same time, 45 percent of those top earners say they are
better off economically than they were when the president took office,
and 47 percent expect to be even better off when Obama wraps up his
second term.

Conversely, 50 percent of those making less than $30,000 say they are
worse off now than four years ago, and 46 percent expect to be in even
worse shape in 2016.

Pulse Opinion Research conducted the poll of 1,000 likely voters on May
17, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

--View poll full poll results here.

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