President Barack Obama won the public argument over taxes so decisively that almost half of Republicans now say he has an election mandate to raise rates on the rich.

Majorities of about 2-to-1 also read the election results as an endorsement of Obama’s pledge to protect Social Security and Medicare benefits, according to a Bloomberg National Poll of 1,000 adults conducted Dec. 7-10…

Support for Obama’s handling of the economy has surged to 48 percent from 41 percent in September and in foreign affairs to 54 percent from 45 percent. Backing of his handling of the deficit rose to 40 percent from 31 percent in March, when the question was last asked, and support for his handling of negotiations with congressional Republicans increased to 45 percent from 41 percent in March.