Days before his inauguration to a second term, President Barack Obama is in a strong political position, but leads a country riddled with pessimism about the economy and his ability to improve it, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds.
Americans see some signs of improvement in the economy but are mostly downbeat about the next four years and about their own financial prospects, a grim contrast to the buoyant mood of Inauguration Day four years ago.
"If 2009 was all about hope, 2013 is about the ability to cope," said Peter D. Hart, the Democratic pollster who conducted the survey of 1,000 adults with Republican pollster Bill McInturff. "Americans still perceive tough times ahead, and I think they have lowered their sights."
Mr. Obama has emerged largely unscathed from a battle with congressional Republicans in recent weeks that produced a last-minute deal to raise income-tax rates on upper brackets while extending Bush-era rates for most Americans. Some 52% of adults approve of his job performance, a higher rating than through most of his first term.
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