All of these factors played a part in Obama’s winning a second term as president, even though Americans are still in a somewhat negative mood in an absolute sense.

The 33% of Americans satisfied is below the historical average 38% and is the lowest it has been when an incumbent successfully won re-election. It was lower in late 1979 and 1992 prior to the defeats of Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush, respectively, but was significantly higher when Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush won re-election.