LATEST NEWS
 Top Stories
 U.S.
 World
 Business
 Markets
 Technology
 Sports
 Entertainment
 Health
 Science
 Politics
 Offbeat
 Weather
 Raw News
  ESPAÑOL
 Generales
 Financieras
 Deportivas
 Espectáculos
 NEWS SEARCH
 
 Archive Search
 WEB SPECIALS
 Multimedia Gallery
 AP Video Network
 Today in History
 PhotoWeek
 SportsWeek
 U.S. Census
 Database
 Corrections
May 12, 10:00 AM EDT

AP-GfK poll: Americans more upbeat about economy


AP Photo
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
Politics Video
Buy AP Photo Reprints
Interactives
Christmas at the White House through the years
New Orleans Obama will see 4 years after Hurricane Katrina
Obama, Cabinet travels lead mostly to blue states
Presidential postcards: Chief executives on vacation
The 2009 U.S.-Russia summit
Barack Obama: The AP interview
Foodie in Chief: Mapping Obama's Eats
First ladies of fashion: Michelle Obama and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy
Obama's family and WWII
First 100 days: Revisiting the issues that shaped Obama's campaign
First 100 days: Day-by-day interactive calendar
First 100 days: Michelle Obama's style
Obama's West Wing
Latest News
Obama to meet flood victims during trip to Memphis

Obama meets with NATO chief Friday

Obama asks FBI chief to stay, seeks Congress OK

Irish Muslim arrested in Dublin over Obama threats

Black lawmakers press Obama on jobs in urban areas

Multimedia
A district summary of the Beige Book
Measuring economic stress by county nationwide
Mall malaise: shoppers browse, but don't buy
Unemployment by the numbers
Family struggles with father's unemployment
Saying an affordable goodbye
Hard times hit small car dealer
Latest Economic News
Stocks fall as European financial crisis expands

Germany powers eurozone economic surge

French economy accelerates in first quarter

German economy accelerates in 1st quarter

Job gains should offset higher gas and food prices

Summary Box: Job gains may offset pricier gas

Summary Box: Commodities lift pulls stocks higher

How the major stock indexes fared Thursday

Goldman Sachs, Cisco, First Solar are big movers

AP-GfK poll: Americans more upbeat about economy

Interactives
Greece's Debt Threatens to Spread
State budget
gaps map
Auto industry problems trickle down, punish Tennessee county
Women give old Derby hats a makeover in tough economy
S.C. town deals with highest unemployment in South
How mortgages were bundled and sold as securities
Tracking the $700 billion financial bailout
Tracking the year's job losses
State-by-state foreclosures since 2007
Credit crisis explained
Presidents and their economic legacies
Lexicon of the financial crisis
Americans' addiction to debt
Multimedia
Poll: Immigration splits Americans
Poll: People and their pets
AP-mtvU poll: College students, finances and the economy
Photo Slideshow
Obama picks up Nobel Peace prize
Interactive
Obama's 2011 State of the Union Address
Obama's 2010 State of the Union Address
Panorama of the State of the Union Address

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Americans are growing more optimistic about the U.S. economy, a sentiment that is benefiting President Barack Obama despite public disenchantment with his handling of rising gasoline prices and swollen government budget deficits.

An Associated Press-GfK poll shows that more than 2 out of 5 people believe the U.S. economy will get better, while a third think it will stay the same and nearly a fourth think it will get worse, a rebound from last month's more pessimistic attitude. And, for the first time since the 100-day mark of his presidency, slightly more than half approve of Obama's stewardship of the economy.

Both findings represent a boost for Obama, though he still must overcome ill will over government red ink and the price of gas at the pump, now hovering around $4 a gallon.

But the public's brighter economic outlook also could signal a boost to the current recovery, which relies to a great degree on consumer behavior. A public that is confident about economic performance is more likely to spend more and accelerate the economy's resurgence.

The poll was conducted May 5-9 in the aftermath of the U.S. commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaida leader behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The spike in public esteem for Obama as a result of that successful clandestine mission may have helped Obama's standing on issues other than national security.

The poll coincides with renewed attention in Washington to the nation's growing debt and the federal government's long-term budget deficits, so any positive signs from the public could help Obama push his policy proposals. A bipartisan team of lawmakers is working with Vice President Joe Biden to identify spending cuts. Meanwhile, lawmakers also are discussing major structural changes to the tax system and to the government's mammoth benefits programs of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

The results of the AP-GfK poll stood out because other surveys taken after bin Laden's death, while showing a spike in support for the president, continued to indicate dissatisfaction by a majority for his handling of the economy. Still, like the AP-GfK poll, other surveys also found American attitudes about the state of the nation improving.

Forty-five percent of those polled in the AP-GfK survey said the country was now moving in the right direction, an increase of 10 percentage points from five weeks ago. And attitudes about life in general remained positive, with 4 out of 5 respondents saying they were happy or somewhat happy with their circumstances.

"Once you hit bottom the only one way to go is up," said John Bair, 23, a photographer and filmmaker from Pittsburgh. "Everybody that I come in contact with seems to be on the upswing. I consider that a pretty good thing."

But Bair, who describes himself as a moderate to conservative independent, doesn't believe Obama deserves re-election. He strongly disapproves of the president's handling of gasoline prices and says Obama should do more to increase domestic production of oil.

"When I'm paying $4 for a gallon of gas, it gets me wondering what's going on," he said.

Obama has tried to appear engaged on gas prices even though there is little presidents can do to alter market fluctuations. He has called for new renewable energy policies and for eliminating tax breaks for oil and gas companies, while conceding those steps will not address the current price increases. The efforts have not given the public much to cheer about, however. A total of 61 percent disapprove of Obama's approach to the rising cost of gasoline.

Indeed, for all the long-term confidence that the economy will recover, the public is hardly upbeat about the current state of things. Only 21 percent describe the economy as good and 73 percent describe it as poor. About 1 in 5 thought the economy got better during the past month; an equal number thought it got worse.

A favorable jobs report last Friday showed that private companies had exceeded expectations by creating 268,000 jobs last month, the third month of at least 200,000 new jobs. And while unemployment has dropped from a high of 10.1 percent nationally in October 2009, it is now 9 percent, the same as in January.

"We haven't done anything to create the jobs that (Obama) promised -that all of them promised," said John Grezaffi, 60, a rancher from Pointe Coupee Parish, La.

Grezaffi, taking a short break from working to shore up his land against a rising Mississippi River on Wednesday, said he somewhat supports Obama but does not support his handling of the economy and believes the country is moving in the wrong direction.

Approaching retirement age, he said he wasn't eager to see his upcoming benefits shortchanged.

"I'm willing to give up a little, but not everything when you see the waste that occurs in so many other areas," he said.

Deana Floss, 39, a Springfield, Ohio, restaurant cook and owner of a cleaning business, voiced lukewarm approval for Obama even though she doesn't care for the state of the economy or Obama's handling of the nation's budget deficits.

"I don't think he has done a very bad job with the economy," she said. "It was already going downhill when he took the reins."

The Associated Press-GfK Poll was conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications. It involved landline and cell phone interviews with 1,001 adults nationwide and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.

---

Associated Press Deputy Polling Director Jennifer Agiesta contributed to this report.

---

Online:

http://www.ap-gfkpoll.com

© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.