By Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Anthony Salvanto, and Fred Backus
As President Barack Obama prepares for the first State of the Union Address of his second term, one which will primarily be focused on economic issues, fewer than half of Americans (45 percent) approve of how he's handling the economy, while more (49 percent) disapprove.
Overall, Mr. Obama is performing better with 52 percent of Americans now approving of the job he is doing as President, while 38 percent disapprove.
Mr. Obama's approval rating has remained fairly constant over the past year, though it rose as high as 57 percent in December. Only 12 percent of Republicans approve; 86 percent of Democrats do. Just under half of independents approve.
On the other hand, the President enjoys particularly strong support for his handling of terrorism - 57 percent approve, while 31 percent disapprove.
Use of Drones
The practice of using unmanned drone aircrafts to attack suspected terrorists in foreign countries - a policy begun by the Bush Administration and expanded under President Obama - enjoys widespread and bipartisan support. Seven in 10 Americans favor using drones to attack suspected terrorists abroad, including most Republicans, Democrats, and independents.
Americans also support a more controversial measure, although in smaller numbers. Forty-nine percent of Americans favor the targeting and killing of U.S. citizens living abroad who are suspected of carrying out terrorist activities against the U.S.; 38 percent oppose that.
Cooperation between Republicans and Democrats?
Looking ahead, Americans are not especially optimistic that there will be more cooperation between Republicans and Democrats in the next four years than there was during the President's first term. Just 17 percent think there will be more cooperation, 22 percent say less, and 58 percent say cooperation will be about the same as it was during the last four years.
This poll was conducted by telephone from February 6-10, 2013 among 1,148 adults nationwide. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups may be higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.