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NBC/WSJ Poll: 61% Approve, GOP On Decline (Still)

Its like the American people support their president after years of being misled. Oh, that's exactly what it is.

The poll finds yet another jump in the portion of the public that sees the nation headed in the right direction, despite the continued hard times, to the point where survey participants are now evenly divided between those who see things going in the right direction, and those who believe things are on the wrong track. That's the most optimistic finding in more than five years, and it suggests that the president himself is injecting this optimism into people, and that his own job approval numbers are likely to stay strong, pollsters say.

For the Republican opposition, the poll had scant good news. By a wide margin, the public is more likely to blame congressional Republicans for any gridlock. And while ratings of the Democratic-controlled Congress remain low, a plurality said they preferred that Democrats continue to control Congress after next year's elections.

Overall, more than half of those surveyed say the president is off to a great or good start, and nearly six in 10 say he's accomplished a great deal or a fair amount.

And 61% of people approve of the job Mr. Obama is doing as president, better ratings than George W. Bush or Bill Clinton had at the 100-day mark. Even more -- 64% -- see him in a positive light, though on this measure of popularity, he's lost some ground with both independents and Republicans.