As President Barack Obama heads into his second term, he faces a pessimistic and weary public, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll released late Tuesday.
The percentage of Americans satisfied with the direction of the country stands at a paltry 23 percent in a poll taken Dec. 14-17. By a margin of 50 to 47 percent, respondents said the country's best years are over.
Fifty percent of respondents said it is somewhat or very unlikely that today's youth will have a better life than their parents.
That pessimism and negativity extends to the president, according to the poll.
When respondents were asked to choose adjectives to describe their feelings about the president's re-election, the poll showed the excitement and pride many Americans felt about the president's first term has diminished.
Sixty-seven percent of respondents in November 2008 said they felt optimistic about the president's election and the same percentage said it made them feel proud. Last month those numbers fell to 52 percent for optimistic and 48 percent for proud. Forty-three percent of Americans surveyed also said they feel pessimistic about the president's re-election and 36 percent said it made them feel afraid—both increases from 2008.
The president's approval rating, however, hovered at the 50 percent threshold in the USA Today/Gallup survey. This is 1 percentage point above George W. Bush as he headed into his second term, but below the 58 percent rating held by Bill Clinton and 59 percent held by Ronald Reagan.
The poll's margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.