Fox News Poll: Obama Falling Below Expectations at Two-Year Mark

After two years in office, over half of American voters say President Obama is failing to live up to expectations, and a majority is dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country today.

Still, the president’s job approval rating is at its highest level in over six months. These are just some of the findings from a Fox News poll released Thursday.

Approval of Obama’s job performance stands at 47 percent, up from 40 percent in December.

The last time approval of the president was this high was late June 2010 (also 47 percent approval). The new poll found 44 percent disapprove of the job Obama is doing.

A year ago 50 percent approved and 42 percent disapproved (January 2010).

The improvement in Obama’s rating comes from a boost from his party faithful (87 percent of Democrats approve), as well as good ratings across the board for his handling of the Tucson shooting. Overall, 71 percent of voters approve and 10 percent disapprove of Obama’s handling of the shooting. Nineteen percent are unsure.

About 4 in 10 voters -- 42 percent -- think Obama is meeting or exceeding expectations. That’s unchanged from 42 percent who thought so last year, though a significant drop from the two-thirds who felt that way in early 2009.

A 53 percent majority thinks Obama is falling below expectations, up slightly from 50 percent at the end of his first year in office (January 2010). More than twice as many now say the president is missing the mark as in the early days of his term, when 23 percent said he was falling below expectations.

More than a third of Americans (37 percent) are satisfied with the way things are going in the country today, which is little improvement from 35 percent a year ago. Even so, nearly twice as many are satisfied today as were satisfied the week before Obama took office.

And while most voters -- 61 percent -- remain dissatisfied with the way things are going today, that’s a significant improvement from the 79 percent who felt that way in early 2009, days before President Obama took office.

By a 51-42 percent margin, more voters say they would vote for someone else if the 2012 presidential election were held today than would support re-election of President Obama.

Setting aside job performance and thinking about Barack Obama as a person, 56 percent of voters say they have a favorable opinion of him, up from 47 percent in late October. Forty percent have an unfavorable view today, down from 48 percent. In the week before Obama was inaugurated, his favorable rating soared to a high of 76 percent.

First Lady Michelle Obama has a higher favorable rating than her husband: 69 percent have a positive opinion of her (up 10 percentage points since October), while 20 percent have an unfavorable view and another 11 percent are unable to rate her.

Some 29 percent have a favorable opinion of the House Speaker John Boehner, up from 12 percent favorable in September. Twenty-one percent have an unfavorable view, and 50 percent are still unfamiliar with the new Speaker and unable to rate him.

Obama Becoming More of a Moderate?

After the president and Republican leaders came to a compromise in December on extending the Bush-era tax cuts, some Washington commentators suggested Obama was becoming more moderate. Across the country, 42 percent of voters think Obama is governing as a liberal, compared to 47 percent a year ago (October 2009).

Thirty-two percent think he is governing as a moderate, up just 3 percentage points from 29 percent previously.

The national telephone poll was conducted for Fox News by Opinion Dynamics Corp. of 900 randomly chosen registered voters from Jan. 18 to Jan. 19. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for the total sample.

Click here to view the raw data