WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans' ratings of President Barack Obama are creeping up.
Fifty-three percent have a favorable opinion and 44 percent have an unfavorable opinion of the president, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll. That's an improvement since February, when 45 percent said they rated him favorably.
Some things to know about opinions of Obama and the state of the country from the latest poll:
Half of those questioned approve of how Obama is handling his job. That's up slightly from 44 percent in February, and the highest it's been in an AP-GfK poll since 2013. Also, 50 percent now disapprove of the job Obama is doing, down slightly from 55 percent in February.
Much of the improvement for Obama appears to come among Democrats and young people.
Among Democrats, 86 percent now approve of Obama, up slightly after 80 percent said so in February. Younger people, too, appeared to take a more positive view of Obama in the latest poll than they did in February: 55 percent of those under 50 gave his job performance a positive review after 45 percent did in the previous poll.
Obama still dramatically polarizes the electorate. Only about 1 in 10 Republicans expresses a positive opinion of the job he's doing as president. Among independents who don't lean toward either party, 36 percent approve and 60 percent disapprove of the job he's doing as president.
ON THE ISSUES
People are split, 49 percent to 49 percent, in their approval or disapproval of Obama's handling of the economy.
On other issues, views of Obama are not as rosy.
People are still more likely to disapprove than approve of his handling of the U.S. role in world affairs (53 percent to 46 percent), the threat posed by the Islamic State group (56 percent to 43 percent), immigration (57 percent to 42 percent) and health care (54 percent to 45 percent).
On each of these measures and on his handling of the economy, Obama has improved at least slightly since February.
ECONOMIC OUTLOOK TICKS UP
People are slightly more likely to describe the economy as good than they were in February, 45 percent to 41 percent. That rating also ticked up at the end of 2015, before dipping again slightly at the beginning of 2016. Despite the current rise, 54 percent of those questioned still describe the economy as poor.
People are much more likely to see their personal financial situations as good — 65 percent to 33 percent who say their personal finances are in poor shape. Also, 37 percent say they expect their household financial situation to get better in the next year, up from 32 percent who said that in February.
ECONOMY STILL PARAMOUNT
The economy is the top issue on people's minds, perhaps explaining why the president's overall approval rating remains out in front of his rating on other issues.
Eighty-one percent say the economy is a very or extremely important issue to them personally, compared with the 74 percent who say that about health care or the 69 percent who say it about the threat posed by the Islamic State group.
Just over one-half call immigration or the U.S. role in world affairs very or extremely important.
STILL ON THE WRONG TRACK
Despite their rising opinions of Obama, 71 percent of those surveyed think the country is headed in the wrong direction. Just 29 percent think it's headed in the right direction.
Also, 86 percent disapprove of the job Congress is going, including 50 percent who strongly disapprove. More than 8 in 10 Democrats, Republicans and independents disapprove of Congress.
On the other hand, nearly half of Democrats, but less than 1 in 10 Republicans, thinks the country is headed in the right direction.
The AP-GfK Poll of 1,076 adults was conducted online March 31-April 4, using a sample drawn from GfK's probability-based KnowledgePanel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.
Respondents were first selected randomly using telephone or mail survey methods and later interviewed online. People selected for KnowledgePanel who didn't otherwise have access to the Internet were provided access at no cost to them.