Americans are much less positive than they were a year ago that President Barack Obama will be able to accomplish a number of challenges facing his administration. In particular, far fewer Americans believe he will be able to heal political divisions and control federal spending.
Given Obama's decline in overall job approval this year, it may not be surprising to find that Americans have become at least somewhat less optimistic about Obama's ability to accomplish these goals. The drop since last November in the percentage saying Obama would be able to accomplish them ranges from 5 percentage points for "keeping the U.S. safe from terrorism" to a 26-point drop on "healing political divisions in this country."
Less than half are confident that Obama will be able to achieve success on four other goals:
Bring U.S. troops home from Afghanistan in a way that is not harmful to the U.S.
Improve the healthcare system
Control federal spending
Heal political divisions in this country
Americans are least confident that Obama will be able to heal political divisions in this country. This perception is underscored by the results of a separate question that asked about the degree of political division in the country. Two-thirds of Americans now say the country is more deeply divided on the major issues facing the country than it has been in the past several years, an increase of 11 points from the record-low reading on this last November.