A new Zogby Poll shows President Barack Obama with his highest approval ratings in years. The poll of 826 likely voters nationwide, conducted by Zogby Analytics January 10-12, gives the President a 56% approval rating, while 42% disapprove. Mr. Obama receives majority approval ratings from men (52%) and women (59%), Democrats (91%) and independents (55%); 18-29 year olds (68%), 30-49 year olds (60%), and 50-64 year olds (53%); Hispanics (65%), African Americans (95%), the Creative Class (57%), and Weekly Wal-Mart Shoppers (58%). Moving beyond his base, the President gets a 40% approval among evangelical voters, 25% among conservatives, and 16% among Republicans.

A majority of voters (53%) describe themselves as optimistic toward the future of the United States with one week to go before the Mr. Obama's second inauguration, while 45% say they are pessimistic. The spirit of optimism is very much a partisan thing, including 86% of Democrats, 68% of young voters, and 60% of the Creative Class - but also includes 57% of independents, 58% of the Investor Class, 38% of evangelicals, and 24% of conservatives.

Regarding their personal finances, 38% say they are "better off" than they were four years ago, while 28% are "worse off" and 29% "about the same". Among those more likely to say they are better off than worse off: Democrats (55%-11%), 18-29 year olds (53%-12%), Hispanics (51%-18%), African Americans (66%-6%), the Creative Class (42%-26%), the Investor Class (48%-24%), Weekly Wal-Mart Shoppers (41%-30%), and independents (36%-27%).

When we asked voters for the best course of action for Republicans in Congress to take, 49% say that the GOP should "put partisan politics aside and support the agenda of President Obama and the Congressional Democrats", while 31% feel that they "should oppose the agenda of President Obama and the Congressional Democrats". One in five is not sure. This includes Democrats (69% to 11%), independents (55%-29%), and even one in five Republicans (19%-56%).

In terms of handling the recent legislation averting the "fiscal cliff", President Obama receives a net positive approval rating (52%-43%) as does Vice-President Biden (47%-46%). Senate Democrats fare poorly (36% positive-56%), but not as badly as both Senate Republicans (14%-77%) and Speaker John Boehner (16%-68%), who are pounded by all sides.

The Zogby Poll has a margin of sampling error of +/-3.5 percentage points. Party identification in the poll is 37.9% Democrat, 32.5% Republican, and 29.7% independent.

For more information and x-Tabs see jzanalytics.com/DATA/US_Results_ZA_011013.pdf