Nearly 3 in 4 say it was a bad year for the country; the President has a -18 point approval rating (i.e., his disapproval numbers exceed approval by 18 points).
As attitudes have hardened toward "ObamaCare," Rassmussen finds that a hefty 58% oppose it. What's more, public confidence in the War on Terror is at its lowest point in over 2.5 years.
Even so, Americans remain upbeat about the year to come (our optimism is one of the best things about us, in my opinion).
And all of that, perhaps, offers a template for Republicans -- who will need to be at their most effective in order to win in 2010 and reverse some of the worst Obama/Democrat policies of "change." It's necessary, and right, to point out the problems with what's going on. But it's equally important to look ahead with specific and credible policies, so that the GOP may assert with confidence that -- if elected and given a change to enact their plans -- Americans' optimism can be well-founded.
It strikes me that much of the widespread discontent with the President and Democrats generally springs from the fact that their high-spending, high-taxing all-about-government style of governance is very different in tone and substance than what was promised during their campaigns. Part of the way that Republicans can show they're different from Democrats -- as well as tell about it -- is to be specific about their plans, realistic about how many of them can be carried out, and straightforward but hopeful about what will be achieved.
Aligning GOP priorities with those of regular Americans is a great place to start (and a great contrast to the Democrats). Righting the economy -- especially before embarking on great new government boondoggles -- should head the list, along with (of course) a real commitment to keeping Americans safe in the War on Terror.