Steady growth is bolstering the American public’s confidence in the economy, according to a new poll that shows people are more optimistic than they have been in 11 years. It’s good news for President Barack Obama as he prepares to give his State of the Union address on Tuesday night.
About 45% Americans said they are satisfied with the state of the economy, a level unseen since January 2004, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll. “For the first time, we have numbers that kind of bust out of the Great Recession Era,” said Bill McInturff, a Republican pollster who worked on the survey.
Only 49% of Americans said the country was in a state of decline, the lowest level since on the question since 1991. The poll of 800 adults found that the national mood is being bolstered by dropping fuel prices, increased employment, and economic growth.
Obama’s overall approval rating has also risen to 46%, and 49% of Americans now approve of his handling of the economy—the highest level since he won reelection in 2012. But Congress’ approval ratings remain at an abysmal 16%
“Throughout most of 2014, Barack Obama had a stiff wind in his face,” said Peter Hart, a Democratic pollster who worked on the survey. “He starts 2015 with a slight breeze at his back.”