Obama’s Mandate for Taxes: Poll

Photograph by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

President Barack Obama speaks about the economy at the Daimler Detroit Diesel engine plant on Dec. 10, 2012 in Redford, Michigan.

President Barack Obama holds a re-election mandate for his plan to raise taxes on the rich, a Bloomberg National Poll shows, with the president’s job-approval at its highest since this season three years ago.

And while most Americans still worry that things are on the wrong track, the poll finds, optimism about the future also is at its highest in three years.

Bloomberg’s Mike Dorning reports today: Obama won the public argument over taxes so decisively that almost half of Republicans now say he has an election mandate to raise rates on the rich.

Majorities of about 2-to-1 also read the election results as an endorsement of Obama’s pledge to protect Social Security and Medicare benefits, according to a Bloomberg National Poll of 1,000 adults conducted Dec. 7-10.

And Obama confronts his first post-election test — negotiations with Congress to avert a slate of automatic tax increases and spending cuts in January that have become known as the so-called fiscal cliff — with his highest level of public support since his first year in office.

The president’s job approval strengthened to 53 percent from 49 percent in September. The last time he enjoyed that level of public backing was December 2009, when his job approval was 54 percent.

The combined findings give Obama “an opportunity to negotiate from a position of strength,” said Ann Selzer, the founder of Selzer & Co., a Des Moines, Iowa-based firm that conducted the poll. “This is what the public is saying he was elected to do.”

Bloomberg’s David Lynch reports today: Americans’ economic mood is at its brightest in more than three years even as Washington echoes with warnings of a new recession if deficit negotiations fail, the Bloomberg National Poll shows.

While just 38 percent say the U.S. is on the right track, that’s five percentage points more than in the last poll in September and the best reading on that question since September 2009, when the U.S. was just emerging from recession. Fifty-five percent of respondents say the U.S. is on the wrong track.

“Things are improving,” says David Jellison, 37, a systems administrator in Puyallup, Washington, who’s planning a family vacation to California. “People I know who were out of work are getting jobs. Everything seems to be picking up.”

The poll reflects the growing optimism that contributed to President Barack Obama’s re-election victory. Forty-eight percent of respondents say they approve of his handling of the economy as housing prices rise, household debt falls and employment grows, with 48 percent disapproving. That’s his best showing since September 2009.

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