Overall, 61 percent of those surveyed see Obama as a "strong leader," up from 51 percent a year ago. The percentage of Republicans calling him a strong leader rose from 17 percent to 35 percent since last year.
As he enters his second term, 55 percent said Obama is doing a good job overall, compared to 24 percent saying so of congressional Republicans. Among political independents, 54 percent approve of the president's performance, and only 21 percent give their approval to congressional Republicans.
The poll, released Wednesday, offered better marks to congressional Democrats, who have a 37 percent approval rating overall, and 30 percent approval among independents.
Obama's approval rating is higher than at any time in the past three years, with the exception of a brief upward spike after the killing of Osama bin Laden, the poll indicated.
Republican congressional leaders are perceived as unwilling to work with Obama on important issues, the poll found, with 67 percent saying GOP leaders do "too little" to compromise with the president. Fewer, 48 percent, say the same about Obama's willingness to compromise with the GOP.
Fifty-seven percent said the country is on the wrong track and 39 percent who said it is on the right track. In the week before the November election, 55 percent said the country was on the wrong track and 43 percent said it was on the right track.
The telephone survey was conducted Jan. 10-13 among a random national sample of 1,001 adults. The margin of sampling error is 3.5 percentage points.