U.S. News

Optimism on U.S. economy up: poll

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Americans have grown more optimistic about the economy and the direction of the country since President Barack Obama took office in January, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll on Monday.

Two-thirds of respondents said they approved of Obama’s overall job performance.

Just 31 percent said they had a favorable view of the Republican Party, the lowest in the 25 years the question has been asked in the poll, The New York Times said.

The number of people who said they thought the United States was headed in the right direction jumped from 15 percent during the final days of Republican President George W. Bush’s administration in mid-January, before the inauguration, to 39 percent today, the newspaper said.

The number of respondents who said the country was headed in the wrong direction dropped to 53 percent from 79 percent.

Thirty-four percent said the economy, already contracting, was getting worse, down from 54 percent just before Obama took office.

According to the poll, 20 percent of Americans now think the economy is getting better, compared with 7 percent in mid-January.

The national telephone poll of 998 adults was conducted Wednesday through Sunday. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Reporting by JoAnne Allen; Editing by Philip Barbara