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Obama says Americans aren't better off under his watch

October 03, 2011|By Michael A. Memoli
  • President Obama is interviewed by ABC's George Stephanopoulos in the Blue Room of the White House on Monday.
President Obama is interviewed by ABC's George Stephanopoulos in… (ABCNews.com )

President Obama says he's "absolutely" the underdog in his bid for reelection, embracing the findings of a new survey that shows most Americans expect he'll be a one-term president.

Among the factors Obama said are weighing on his campaign is his own concession that the economy has not sufficiently recovered.

"I don't think [Americans are] better off than they were four years ago," Obama told ABC's George Stephanopoulos in an interview Monday. "What we've seen is that we've been able to make steady progress. ... But the unemployment rate is still way too high."

Obama offered the candid assessment, immediately seized upon by Republicans, to make a pitch for his jobs program.

"It's so critical for us to make sure that we are taking every action that we can take to put people back to work," he said.

The new poll, conducted by Langer Research Associates for ABC News and the Washington Post, showed that just 37% of respondents expected that Obama would win a second term, and 55% expected a  Republican to win.

"Absolutely," Obama said when asked whether he's the underdog. "I don't mind. I'm used to being an underdog."

The president said, as he has in the past, that voters would ultimately make a decision based on "who's got a vision for the future that can actually help ordinary families recapture that American dream."

"Nobody is going to deny that we're not where we need to be, that the economy is not producing enough jobs that pay well and give people a leg up on life. And so the question is, what's most likely to get there?" he said.

"There are going to be some folks who make the argument that if you just slash spending, eliminate regulations that prevent us from polluting our air or polluting our water or, you know, we bust labor unions, that that in and of itself is going to restore the American dream. I don't think most Americans believe that," he said.

The poll finds Republican voters were more optimistic about recapturing the White House than Democrats were about holding it; 83% of Republicans expected their candidate to win, and just 58% of Democrats expected Obama to win.

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