Saturday, January 17, 2009

Americans Greet Obama with Optimistic Realism

A New York Times/CBS News poll shows that Americans are optimistic about the future of their country under Obama's administration but also realistic enough to understand it may take years for him to turn the country around.

There has been a lot of concern that Americans would place unattainable expecations on their new president and then quickly become disillusioned.

While hopes for the new president are extraordinarily high, the poll found, expectations for what Mr. Obama will actually be able to accomplish appear to have been tempered by the scale of the nation’s problems at home and abroad.

The findings suggest that Mr. Obama has achieved some success with his effort, which began with his victory speech in Chicago in November, to gird Americans for a slow economic recovery and difficult years ahead after a campaign that generated striking enthusiasm and high hopes for change.

Most Americans said they did not expect real progress in improving the economy, reforming the health care system or ending the war in Iraq — three of the central promises of Mr. Obama’s campaign — for at least two years. The poll found that two-thirds of respondents think the recession will last two years or longer.

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