American voters are sharply divided over how things went this year, and they continue to give President Obama mixed reviews. Meanwhile, voters are almost twice as likely to say Obama will be one of the country’s “worst” presidents as to say he will be one of the “greatest,” according to a year-end Fox News poll released Thursday.
Some 42 percent of voters feel 2012 was a good year, while 41 percent say it was bad. Another 15 percent have mixed feelings.
Some 57 percent of Democrats say 2012 was a good year, while the exact same number of Republicans -- 57 percent -- feels the opposite. Plus, independents split: 40 percent good, 40 percent bad.
The divide continues on the economy: 79 percent of Democrats think the economy will be better a year from now, while 70 percent of Republicans say it will be worse.
Overall, 49 percent think the economy will be better and 42 percent worse.
Just under half of voters -- 48 percent -- approve of the job Obama is doing as president, down from 51 percent right before the election (October 2012). Almost as many -- 46 percent -- disapprove.
The president’s average rating for the year is 48 percent approve and 47 percent disapprove. That’s better than his yearly averages for 2011 (46 approve - 46 disapprove) and 2010 (45 approve - 47 disapprove), yet below his first year average of 56 percent approve - 34 percent disapprove (2009).
How will history judge Obama? Twelve percent of voters think he’ll be considered “one of the country’s greatest presidents,” up from 5 percent in 2010. In 2009 some 13 percent rated him that way, while in 2008 (right after he was elected) 19 percent did.
Twenty-three percent of voters think Obama will rate as “one of the country’s worst presidents,” up from 15 percent in 2010 and 6 percent in 2008.
Twenty-nine percent expect his presidency will be “good,” 19 percent say “average” and 14 percent say “below average.”
Nearly one in four Democrats thinks Obama will be one of the greatest presidents (23 percent). Twice as many Republicans expect he will rate as one of the worst presidents (46 percent).
And while the number of Democrats believing Obama will be one of the greatest presidents is up from a low of 9 percent in 2010, it’s down from a high of 30 percent who thought that when he was first elected.
How do voters feel about this year’s presidential election? About three times as many are “happy” (31 percent) as are “angry” (11 percent) about the outcome. Another 32 percent are “disappointed,” 16 percent are “relieved” and 7 percent are “surprised.”
Happiness among Democrats (59 percent) is matched by disappointment among Republicans (61 percent).
Something partisans agree on is that the media favored Obama over Mitt Romney in their election coverage: 51 percent of independents, 52 percent of Democrats and 73 percent of Republicans think Obama was given preferential treatment by most journalists and reporters.
All in all, 60 percent of voters think Obama was the preferred candidate, while 24 percent say Romney.
Meanwhile, 44 percent of voters think Obama’s been acting “humble and bi-partisan” since winning re-election, while 39 percent say he’s been “arrogant and uncooperative.”
Most Democrats think Obama’s been humble (74 percent), while most Republicans say he’s been arrogant (69 percent). Independents are more likely to say arrogant than humble by 44-33 percent.
The poll also asked voters about some unfulfilled promises Obama made during his first presidential campaign.
Perhaps the most famous -- closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. The poll finds voters split 44-45 percent over whether Obama will keep that promise.
Over half of voters -- 56 percent -- believe Obama will make good on another promise by passing comprehensive immigration reform.
Increasing the minimum wage is considered the most likely 2008 promise Obama will fulfill during his second term, with 59 percent saying he will.
Majorities think the president will fail to fulfill his promises of “bringing Democrats and Republicans together to pass a bi-partisan agenda” and “reducing earmarks to 1994 levels.”
Some 61 percent of voters are concerned the Obama administration will move the country more toward socialism in his second term. That includes 38 percent who are “very” concerned.
And nearly half feel that is already happening: 49 percent of voters think the federal government is providing too many services for too many people. Twenty percent feel the opposite -- the government is providing too few services for too few people. A quarter think services are being provided at the right level (25 percent).
Clinton Job Performance
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continues to outperform her boss: 59 percent of voters approve of her job performance. That’s twice as many as the 29 percent who disapprove.
Clinton’s highest approval was 67 percent earlier this year (April 2012).
Her numbers will be tough for a successor to match. Clinton has announced she’ll be stepping down from the administration soon after Obama’s inauguration in January. Voters are less than thrilled with the top contenders the president is said to be considering: 23 percent would like him to nominate Mass. Sen. John Kerry, while 19 percent favor U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice. Still, the largest number -- 37 percent -- wants him to pick someone else.
The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,012 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from December 9 to December 11. For the total sample, it has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.