Public Gloomy Ahead of Obama Inaugural

When Barack Obama first took the oath of office in 2009, he enjoyed around 70% approval ratings in the polls. His historic election had triggered a groundswell of hope and good feelings about his first term. By overwhelming majorities, Americans were hopeful about the future. Just days before his second inauguration, however, a new poll from The Hill finds that the public is much more pessimistic about the next four years. 

Just 18% of voters believe that Obama's first term exceeded their expectations. 80% feel the first term fell below or simply met their expectations. 60% of Americans do not feel they will make economic gains in the next four years of Obama's presidency. 

A good deal of the voters' pessimism is likely due to the fact that Obama spends most of his time on issues that aren't relevant to their lives. 39% of voters say Obama should focus his energy on reviving the economy. 38% believe he should focus on dealing with the deficit and the national debt. Those thinking his priority should be immigration, gun violence or other issues are in the single digits. Yet, these latter issues is where Obama seems to be spending his political capital. 

Obama won reelection by a narrow, but solid, margin. According to exit polls, however, his victory was due more to personal feelings about him rather than his policies. His policy agenda has not captured the attention of the public. 

The second inauguration feels more like a hangover than a party. 

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