Washington: Unlike in 2009, Barack Obama`s inauguration for a second term at the White House has failed to enthuse weary Americans, who are facing a litany of challenges, including economic woes, according to a new poll.
In January 2009, nearly seven in 10 Americans questioned in a CNN survey said they were thrilled or happy that Obama was about to take office. Now, according to a new CNN/ORC International poll, that number is down 18 points, to 50 per cent.
Back then, six in 10 saw Obama`s inauguration as a celebration by all Americans of democracy in action, with just 39 per cent saying it was a political celebration by the supporters of the winning candidate.
Now, the numbers are nearly reversed, with 62 per cent saying the second inauguration held yesterday in Washington is a celebration by those backing the 44th US president, and 35 per cent saying it`s a celebration of democracy.
51-year-old Obama was sworn-in as US President for another four-year term yesterday at a high-profile event attended by over a million people. However, in 2009, when he became the first African-American President, a record 1.8 million people had flooded the National Mall to witness his swearing in.
"The thrill is gone, along with the hope that the start of a new presidential term of office will bring a divided nation together," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.
The smaller crowd this time around reflects the reality of second-term presidencies, when the novelty and expectations of a new leader have been replaced with the familiarity and experiences of the first act, Holland said.
For Obama, that difference is even sharper. His historic ascendancy to the White House in 2008 came with soaring public hopes and expectations for a new kind of governance that would close the vast partisan gulf developed in recent decades, the report said.
However, a litany of challenges, including an inherited economic recession and repeated battles with congressional Republicans over budgets and spending, only hardened the opposing positions in Washington, it said.
Obama`s signature achievements, including major reforms of the health care industry and Wall Street, became symbols of political division, with opponents constantly accusing him of hindering needed economic recovery, CNN reported.
For his second term, Obama, a Democrat, has vowed to press for an overhaul of the nation`s immigration policies and new ways to boost the sputtering economy, proposals that are bound to spark battles with his Republican rivals, and oversee the implementation of Obamacare.
The deadly shootings at a Connecticut elementary school last month put the divisive issue of gun control on his immediate agenda.