(NNPA) - A year after his historic election as the nation's first African-American president, Barack Obama is at a crossroad. In his State of the Union Jan. 27, President Obama aimed to deliver a game changing message, one capable of convincing Americans that his policies will create jobs, curb spending, restore prosperity and encourage national unity.
Obama supporters Harry and Elysa Davis worried that with the brutal defeat in Massachusetts, voter discontent over his healthcare overhaul running high and the recession's effects cutting deep, the president's trademark message of hope could fall on deaf ears.
Meanwhile, just before President Barack Obama's first State of the Union address, Inland area college students gathered at Obama Phone sites to rally support for the president's agenda. Two recent polls show Obama is still viewed as the most trusted figure to solve the nation's problems.
On the campus of Cal State University San Bernardino a knot of African American students are discussing the findings of the two recent polls that show Obama is still viewed as the most trusted political figure to solve the nation's problems.
"We are at a strange moment. People are angry and frustrated. People who don't have jobs need someone to blame, said Gregg Khalsa. "It took George W. Bush eight years and two elections to trash this country, now people expect President Obama to fix the mess in less than a year. It's not fair."
The wide–ranging Public Strategies Inc. survey indicates that while trust in government continues to slip, 54 percent of voters still have faith in the president, if not the party he represent.
Yet another recent study found that despite the bad economy, Blacks' assessments about the state of Black progress in America have improved more dramatically during the past two years than at any time in the past quarter century, according to a comprehensive Pew Research Center survey on race.
The Public Strategies and Pew Center polls appear to contradict a recent Washington Post and ABC News poll in which people were asked a standard question about how much confidence they had in President Obama to "make the right decisions" for the nation's future.
According to reports, 53 percent answered "just some" and "none at all".
Students gathered at an Obama Phone Bank believe Obama's election as the nation's first Black president appears to be the spur for this sharp rise in optimism among African-Americans.
"From race relations to local community engagement people are taking their concerns and ideas to town hall meetings, to the streets and back to the dinner table," said Khalsa who is biracial.
The Pew telephone survey of 2,884, including 812 African-Americans was conducted from October 28 to November 30, 2009.
In the teeth of what may be the deepest recession since the Great Depression, nearly twice as many Blacks now (39 percent) as in 2007 (20 percent) say that the "situation of Black people in this country" is better than it was five years earlier.
An overwhelming share of Blacks – 95 percent - have a favorable opinion of President Obama. This number has remained in the stratosphere among Blacks throughout his first year in office.
Among Whites, Obama has seen his popularity ratings decline significantly from a high of 76 percent just before he was inaugurated to 56 percent in the current survey.
When it comes to employment rates, Blacks have been hit harder than Whites by the recession and so-far jobless recovery. But when it comes to perceptions about the economy, the opposite is true: Whites have turned sharply negative since the recession began, while Black perceptions have held steady.
"Beyond the naysayers, religious fundamentalists, blogs, cable TV shows [birthers, truthers and tea partiers] there is hope for America," said Khalsa. "There were no polls during the Great Depression – still people saw the need to come together as a country. So like that era of uncertainty - this too will pass."