Obama's popularity highest in four years: Poll

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Barack Obama's popularity has hit 60 per cent, the highest level since he first took office four years ago, according to a poll released on Wednesday.

The survey by ABC television and The Washington Post was made public just a little more than a week after the president's formal swearing-in was witnessed by an estimated one million people in Washington and millions more across the nation.

The pollsters credited public approval of the president's inauguration address for his soaring poll numbers.

In that address, Mr Obama embraced a liberal agenda that vowed action during his second term on gun reform, gay rights and the environment, among other issues.

But while the poll showed he has broad public support, it also found that his popularity is slightly less than that enjoyed by two other re-elected presidents - Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan - at the start of their second terms.

Mr Obama's favorability rating at the start of this second term is higher however than that of his predecessor George W. Bush at the same point during his tenure.

The 60 per cent popularity represents a 10-point increase since last summer, during the heat of the contentious presidential race against Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Mr Obama has a way to go however, until he matches his all-time highest popularity numbers - 79 per cent - achieved just days before he took office in January 2009, the pollsters said.

The telephone survey of 1,022 adults was taken between Jan 23 to 27 and had a 3.5 per cent margin of error.

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