Americans More Optimistic As Obama Preps For SOTU : It's All Politics CNN/Opinion Research says 43% of Americans believe things are better, the best number in two years. Obama can tap into the growing optimism but must keep in mind that 56 percent are still gloomy.
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Americans More Optimistic As Obama Preps For SOTU

New York City, Dec. 2010. Mary Altaffer/AP hide caption

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Mary Altaffer/AP

New York City, Dec. 2010.

Mary Altaffer/AP

Many Americans are just feeling better about life these days.

That mood shift has been seen in the better poll numbers for President Obama.

It's also apparent in the results of a new CNN/Opinion Research poll. CNN's Political Ticker blog reports that 43 percent of Americans think the nation is doing well.

That normally would be a bad number. But we've been down so long, it now looks like up to many Americans. The positivity is the highest the pollsters have seen in two years.

The percentage of Americans who believe the nation's on the right track is up 14 percent since December.

The White House's political team is no doubt seeing the same trend. It allows President Obama to tap into some real optimism that's out there in his State of the Union speech.

He'll need to walk a tightrope, however, since a majority of Americans, 56 percent, still think things are going badly. Sounding too upbeat could make him seem out of touch with the problems of many Americans.

But that percentage used to be 71 percent so there's a definite improvement.

Evidently, while the improving economy and surprising successes of the lame-duck Congress, may explain the buoyed mood, seasonal reasons could also account for the polling results. As CNN explains:

"Over the past two decades, the number in January who say that things are going well in the country has gone up twice as often as it has gone down - sometimes by 10 to 14 points - and it may not be coincidence that the highest amount of optimism ever recorded on this question was just after the new millennium started in January, 2000," adds (CNN polling director Keating) Holland. "