Washington (CNN): As the political world’s focus begins to turn to the race to succeed President Barack Obama, a new CNN/ORC poll finds Americans are split over whether Obama’s time in office has been a success. But they are now more likely than at any point during his tenure to say things in the country are going well.
In February 2009, shortly after Obama took office, 21% of Americans said things in the country were going well, 79% that they were going badly.
The new poll finds 53% saying things are going well, 46% badly. That’s the highest share saying things are going well that CNN/ORC polls have found during Obama’s time in office, though it is not significantly higher than the 52% saying things were going well in November.
The rising optimism about how the country is doing comes after several months of strong economic news. The current unemployment rate of 5.5% is the lowest of his presidency, and although average gas prices — often closely tied with public perceptions of the economy — are slightly higher than they were a few months ago, they remain lower than they were a year ago.