For the first time since 2004, most Americans think we're going in the right direction.
[T]he percentage of Americans saying the country is headed in the right direction rose to 48 percent, up from 40 percent in February. Forty-four percent say the nation is on the wrong track.
Not since January 2004, shortly after the capture of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, has an AP survey found more "right direction" than "wrong direction" respondents. The burst of optimism didn't last long in 2004.
And it doesn't happen much.
Other than that blip five years ago, pessimism has trumped optimism in media polls since shortly after the invasion of Iraq in the spring of 2003.
The "right track" number topped "wrong direction" for a few months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to non-AP media polls, and for several months late in the Clinton administration.
So far, Obama has defied the odds by producing a sustained trend toward optimism. It began with his election.
In October 2008, just 17 percent said the country was headed in the right direction. After his victory, that jumped to 36 percent. It dipped a bit in December but returned to 35 percent around the time of his inauguration and has headed upward since.
What is extremely remarkably about the nation's optimism is that it arrives at a time when Americans have every reason to be very pessimistic. This is not "the era of good feeling"; we're in crisis mode. And yet, the majority is optimistic.
Take that, teabaggers.