Forty-four percent of American voters think President Obama deserves to be re-elected, while slightly more -- 48 percent -- think the country would be better off with someone else, according to a Fox News poll released Thursday.
In December, when the Fox poll last asked that question, 35 percent of voters said he deserved to win re-election, while a 53 percent majority disagreed.
The bump in Obama’s re-elect number comes mainly from Democrats: 78 percent think he deserves re-election now compared to 67 percent who thought so in December. About one in six Democrats (16 percent) think the country would be better off with someone else as president.
Most Republicans (83 percent) and half of independents (51 percent) don’t think Obama deserves re-election.
President Obama announced his 2012 re-election campaign Monday, in the middle of when the Fox News poll was being conducted (Sunday through Tuesday).
At 44 percent, the president’s re-elect number is slightly higher than the number of voters who approve of how he’s handling the economy (40 percent approve), job creation (41 percent approve), and Libya (42 percent approve).
All in all, 49 percent of voters approve of President Obama’s job performance and 47 percent disapprove. Last month, 49 percent approved and 44 percent disapproved.
A majority of voters -- 56 percent -- believes Obama enjoys being president. One-third believes instead that Obama’s frustrated a lot of the time (34 percent). In a fairly rare instance of partisan agreement these days, majorities of Democrats (59 percent), Republicans (56 percent) and half of independents (50 percent) agree that Obama likes his job.
In addition, while 49 percent of Democrats are looking forward to the 2012 presidential campaign, over half of Republicans (51 percent) and independents (54 percent) are dreading it.
Potential GOP 2012 Contenders
One thing that could be helping the president’s re-elect number and dampening Republican enthusiasm for the 2012 campaign is not only the absence of a specific opponent, but also the disappointment in potential prospects. Half of Republicans (50 percent) and over half of conservatives (53 percent) say they are unimpressed with the Republicans who have expressed an interest in challenging Obama.
More than seven in 10 independents (72 percent) also say they are not impressed with possible Republican challengers.
Among political groups, the Tea Party is the only group with more people impressed (53 percent) than unimpressed (43 percent) with the list of potential 2012 Republican contenders.
When Republican voters are read a list of potential candidates for the 2012 nomination, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (15 percent) and former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney (14 percent) are the top two choices. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is their third choice (12 percent), followed closely by businessman Donald Trump (11 percent). Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani comes in at 9 percent and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 7 percent. The remaining candidates receive less than 5 percent.
Additional Findings from the Poll
During the 2008 presidential campaign, President Obama committed to having the most open and transparent administration ever. Some 29 percent of voters think he has accomplished that. However, 27 percent think the Obama administration is less open and transparent than previous administrations, and another 42 percent say it has been about as transparent as others.
The poll found an overwhelming 88 percent of American voters think it is a good idea to require U.S. citizens to show identification before being allowed to vote in elections. Nine percent think this is a bad idea.
The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 914 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from April 3 to April 5. For the total sample, it has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Mike Huckabee is the host of “Huckabee” on Fox News Channel, and Sarah Palin is a Fox News contributor.