Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Obama Ends Year On An Upswing

Ken O’Brien

Americans are more optimistic about the U.S. economy than they have been in years, and that upbeat mood has pushed President Obama’s job-approval level to its highest point since the spring of 2013, according to a CNN/Opinion Research poll released Tuesday afternoon.

The poll showed 51 percent of Americans with a positive view of the economy, up from 38 percent in October.

It was published on a day that the Dow Jones Industrial Average topped 18,000 for the first time, with the economy’s growth rate up to 5 percent in the fall. 

Obama is a beneficiary, his approval rating climbing four points to 48 percent.  A total of 49 percent of those polled still feel the 44th president’s policies would take America in the wrong direction.

The CNN/ORG poll was taken Dec. 17-21, interviewing 1,011 adult Americans.  It has an error margin of plus/minus 3.5 percent.

A second survey, by ABC News and the Washington Post, found good news for the president on another front.  Two-thirds of those surveyed approve of Obama’s decision to resume U.S. diplomatic relations with Cuba and move to end a half-century estrangement between the two countries.

The resumption of diplomatic ties wins approval by a 64-31 percent margin.  Even Republicans give a narrow 49-47 percent thumbs-up, despite thunder and fury from their party’s leaders in Congress.

Other measures get an ever greater endorsement.

Lifting the U.S. trade embargo with Cuba — which would take approval from Congress — is backed by a 68-29 percent margin.  Fifty-seven percent of Republicans would have us do commerce with the communist-run island nation. 

A relaxation of travel restrictions is favored by a top heavy 74-24 percent margin, even winning a two-to-one endorsement from Republicans.

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