WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama is reaping political benefits from the country’s brighter economic mood. A new poll shows that Republicans and Democrats alike are increasingly saying the nation is heading in the right direction, and most independents now approve of the way he’s addressing the nation’s post-recession period.
But trouble could be ahead: Still struggling Americans are fretting over rising gasoline prices. Just weeks before the summer travel season begins, the Associated Press-GfK survey finds pump prices rising in importance and most people unhappy with how the Democratic president has handled the issue.
It’s seemingly no coincidence that Obama this week is promoting the expansion of domestic oil and gas exploration and the development of new forms of energy.
It’s his latest attempt to show that he, more than any of the Republican presidential contenders, knows that voters’ pocketbooks remain pinched even as the economy improves overall. And on that question of empathy, solid majorities continue to view him as someone who “understands the problems of ordinary Americans” and “cares about people like you,” the survey found.