WASHINGTON, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- Republicans gained ground on key issues as Americans question President Obama's leadership and the country's direction, a Wall Street Journal poll indicated.
Republicans were rated higher than Democrats on handling the economy and foreign policy, and the GOP's lead increased on other issues as well, including dealing with the federal deficit and ensuring a strong national defense, results of the Journal-NBC News poll released Friday said.
Democrats also saw their advantage shrink on topics such as healthcare as well, results indicated.
The poll reflected unease over the economy, as 27 percent of respondents said they think the economy will improve over the next year, the lowest percentage since July 2012, the Journal said.
The shift toward favoring Republicans comes as Obama's job-approval rating has hovered around 45 percent for three months.
The Republican Party itself remains unpopular, the Journal said. In the poll, 28 percent of respondents said they hold positive views of the GOP, compared with 40 percent who said they view the Democrats positively.
Results are based on nationwide telephone interviews of 1,000 adults conducted Sept. 5-8. No margin of error was given.