As Barack Obama closes in on his first 100 days as president, majorities of Americans approve of the job he is doing, are satisfied with what he has accomplished so far and think he is keeping his promises, according to a FOX News poll released Friday.
Obama's job approval rating comes in at 62 percent, down just three points from the 65 percent approval he received after his first week in office. Twenty-nine percent of Americans disapprove.
In addition, most people say Obama is doing a better job than they expected (26 percent) or meeting expectations (56 percent). Few say he is doing worse than expected (16 percent).
The president's approval is nearly identical to the job rating George W. Bush received at the same point in his first term, as 63 percent of Americans approved and 22 percent disapproved (April 18-19, 2001). One noticeable difference is that approval of Obama is much more divided along partisan lines today than Bush's ratings were eight years ago.
There is a wide 68 percentage point gap between the number of Democrats (92 percent) and Republicans (24 percent) who approve of the job Obama is doing. For Bush, there was a 50-point gap in April 2001.
After the September 11 attacks the partisan difference in Bush's approval narrowed significantly and was twenty-some points for months. Later, in the days leading up to the 2004 presidential election, the gap grew as wide as 79 points among registered voters as 90 percent of Republicans approved of the job Bush was doing, compared to 11 percent of Democrats.
Most Americans have a favorable opinion of Obama as a person: 68 percent favorable and 27 percent unfavorable. Similarly, at this point for Bush, 64 percent said they had a favorable view of him and 27 percent unfavorable (April 18-19, 2001).
First lady Michelle Obama is even more popular than her husband, as 73 percent of Americans have a positive view of her, up from 65 percent earlier this year (January 13-14, 2009).
Just over half of Americans (53 percent) approve of the job Joe Biden is doing as vice president, while 26 percent disapprove and 20 percent are unable to give an opinion. A 59 percent majority has a favorable opinion of Biden as a person and 28 percent unfavorable.
Opinion Dynamics Corp. conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News from April 22 to April 23. The poll has a 3-point error margin.
The poll also finds that 73 percent think Obama is honest and trustworthy, up from 60 percent in October 2008. Furthermore, more people today see Obama as a "doer" (43 percent) than a "talker" (30 percent), a reversal from pre-election polling when more people saw him as a talker (49 percent) rather than a doer (34 percent).
Foreign policy is the area where voters say the administration has done its best so far. Coming in a close second is the economy, which is also the area where the most voters say the administration has done its worst.
Things Are Getting Better
Most Americans — 69 percent — say they are satisfied with what Obama has accomplished in his first 100 days, and 57 percent think he is keeping the promises he made during the campaign.
Such positive marks are not surprising given that nearly half of Americans (46 percent) are satisfied with the way things are going in the country today, up significantly from 20 percent in mid-January. The increase in satisfaction is driven almost solely by Democrats: 17 percent said they were satisfied in January -- before Obama took office -- and 73 percent say they are satisfied today.
The number of people who rate the nation's economy as being in "excellent" or "good" condition has also increased from 5 percent a week before Obama took office to 12 percent today.
On the personal level, about a third (34 percent) say they are better off financially now than they were in January, while almost as many say they are worse off (30 percent) and another third says there has been no change in their financial situation (34 percent).
Nearly twice as many Americans think the actions Obama has taken since becoming president will help rather than hurt the nation's economy (52 percent to 28 percent). The gap is smaller when it comes to personal finances: 38 percent say Obama's actions will help them, while 25 percent say they will hurt. A third (33 percent) says the president's actions will not make much of a difference for their family.
The recently passed $3.6 trillion dollar budget makes nearly half of Americans feel less secure about the nation's financial future; 37 percent say more secure.
In general, more Americans say they prefer a smaller government that provides fewer services (50 percent) over a bigger government that provides more services (38 percent). And, by a 16 point margin, people think big government is a greater potential threat to the country's future than big business.
The poll also shows the public is significantly more likely to say the size of government has gotten bigger (42 percent) since Obama took office, than to say it has gotten smaller (8 percent). Some 42 percent say the size of government hasn't changed.
What's more, by a 27 point margin, people think Obama sees big business as the greater potential threat than big government.
While some 53 percent of Americans think Obama is making policy changes at the right speed, that's down from 66 percent in January. And the number saying he is changing policies too quickly has increased from 24 percent to 30 percent.
Obama Seen as More Liberal Than Most Americans
A slim 53 percent majority thinks Obama's positions on the issues are "about right," while 35 percent think he is "too liberal" and 6 percent say "too conservative."
When asked to compare Obama's views to most Americans, 54 percent think he is more liberal, 13 percent think more conservative, and 23 percent think his views are in line with the country.
More people think Obama has started bringing real change to Washington (51 percent) than think it is more of the "same partisan politics" (40 percent).
Even so, by a 12 point margin, Americans think Washington has become more "partisan and divisive" in the last few months than think it has become more "bipartisan and cooperative."
Few People Want a Mulligan for Their 2008 Vote
Overall, Americans say they are still satisfied with the way they voted in the 2008 presidential election. Among Obama voters, fully 93 percent are still satisfied, while 3 percent wish they had voted differently and 2 percent have mixed feelings.
For McCain voters 85 percent are still satisfied, 5 percent wish they had voted differently and 9 percent mixed feelings.
Looking ahead to 2012, just over half — 52 percent — say they would vote to reelect the president if the election were held today, including 79 percent of 2008 Obama voters.