Americans’ Attitude Toward Obama: Patient

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Americans are feeling a lot of emotions right now. They’re elated and apprehensive. They’re hopeful and worried. According to a new poll conducted by the New York Times and CBS News, 79 percent of Americans are optimistic about the next four years (the highest such response of any of the past five incoming president), but upwards of 80 percent also feel the country is headed in the wrong direction.

For all of that, Americans dominant state of mind may be patience.

Most Americans told The Times that they did not expect real progress in improving the economy, reforming the health care system or ending the war in Iraq — three of the central promises of the Obama campaign for at least two years.

The poll found that two-thirds of respondents think the recession will last two years or longer — midway through Obama’s four-year term as its 44th president.

This obviously bodes will for Obama. He’s facing monumental challenges that may not be fixed or even assuaged by the time he faces reelection. If voters understand that these problems can’t be fixed with a wave of a wand, he likely won’t see a potentially massive dip in his popularity numbers. Another thing that bodes well for Big O: Americans appear to place blame for all the problems mentioned above on George W. Bush. He leaves office with just a 22 percent approval rating, the lowest ever in the poll.

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