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Fox News Poll: Voters Say Country in Worse Shape, Still Expect Obama Will Prevail in 2012

Despite a majority believing the country is in worse shape than it was four years ago, American voters -- by a wide margin -- think President Barack Obama will be re-elected in 2012.

That’s a reversal from how voters felt six months ago, according to a Fox News poll released Thursday.

Today, 57 percent of voters think President Obama will be re-elected. That’s about double the 29 percent who thought so in December. And the 36 percent of voters who don’t expect him to be re-elected is a major shift from the 64 percent who felt that way previously (December 14-15, 2010).

This change is likely due -- at least in part -- to the killing of Usama bin Laden and the lack of a clear Republican opponent.

Click here for full poll results.

Voters were also asked if President Obama deserves to be re-elected. By a 50-43 percent margin, voters think he does. Last month, in early April, voters were much less supportive -- preferring someone else by a slim 4 percentage point margin (48-44 percent).

Overall, Obama’s job ratings have improved since the death of bin Laden. Currently 55 percent of voters approve and 41 percent disapprove. Before the raid, 47 percent approved and 47 percent disapproved (April 25-27, 2011).

Approval of the president jumped among Democrats and independents, as well as among GOP voters. Some 19 percent of Republicans approve of the president in the new poll, up from 11 percent (April 25-27). Obama received a similar bump among his party faithful, as 88 percent of Democrats approve, up from 80 percent previously.

Among independent voters, the president’s approval climbed five points to 43 percent. Still, nearly half of independents -- 49 percent -- disapprove.

Are you better off now than you were four years ago? Then-candidate Ronald Reagan posed this question to Americans in a 1980 debate with President Jimmy Carter, and it’s been standard fare in election campaigns since.

On a series of measures, the new poll finds that few voters think things are better now than they were four years ago.

Majorities say the nation’s economy is in worse shape (59 percent) and that the job situation in their area is worse (57 percent).

Considering their personal finances, nearly half (45 percent) say their situation is the same now as it was four years ago. Among the remaining half, almost twice as many say they are worse off (36 percent) as say they are better off (19 percent).

By a wide 33-point spread, voters say the quality of life in the United States is worse today (48 worse - 15 better). Some 37 percent say the quality of life is unchanged.

More voters say the country is safer from terrorism today (33 percent) than say it is less safe (13 percent). A 53-percent majority says the country is equally as safe.

Half of voters (50 percent) say the country’s border security is about the same today as it was four years ago. The remaining views are split: 22 percent say it is better and 23 percent say border security is worse now.

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 910 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from May 15 to May 17. For the total sample, it has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.