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Obama in Strong Position at Start of Second Term

As he prepares for his second inauguration, Barack Obama is in a stronger position with the public than he was over much of his first term, according to a new national survey from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. At 52%, his job approval rating is among the highest since the early months of his presidency. His personal favorability, currently 59%, has rebounded from a low of 50% in the fall campaign. And increasing percentages describe him as a strong leader, able to get things done and as someone who stands up for his beliefs.

Obama’s political advantage is enhanced by the poor standing of his Republican counterparts. The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Jan. 9-13 among 1,502 adults finds that both House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are viewed more unfavorably than favorably. The Republican Party’s image, which reached a recent high of 42% favorable following the GOP convention this past summer, has fallen once again to a low of just 33%.


Obama’s Personal Strengths. Fully 82% say that Obama stands up for what he believes in, 59% say he is a strong leader and 57% say is able to get things done. All three measures are higher than they were a year ago, but much lower than shortly before his first inauguration in January 2009.

A Pessimistic Public. When Obama began his first term, the public was highly optimistic about prospects for bipartisan cooperation in Washington. Not today: just 23% expect the two parties will work together more in the coming year. And just a third of Americans expect economic conditions to get better over the coming year – that figure was 43% in December 2008.