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72 percent say U.S. will be better off

PRINCETON, N.J., Jan. 20 (UPI) -- U.S. public optimism is high at the start of the Obama administration, with 72 percent saying the country will be better off in four years, a poll indicates.

The optimism levels shown in a USA Today/Gallup poll released Tuesday were higher than those registered immediately before or after previous presidential inaugurations, Gallup said.

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For instance, 53 percent expressed such optimism after President George W. Bush's second inauguration in January 2005, while 46 percent did so on the eve of Bush's first inauguration in 2001. Some 51 percent expressed optimism immediately after Bill Clinton's election in 1992.

Optimism levels about Obama's administration have also risen somewhat in the short time since his election victory -- 72 percent of respondents currently say the country will be better off in four years vs. 65 percent just after the election. Those results show Obama has reinforced his success and has expanded public support during the transition period, Gallup said.

The poll included interviews with 1,013 people conducted Jan. 9-11, carrying a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

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