The president also appears to enjoy majority support of some of his administration's major second-term policy initiatives. On gun control, 56 percent of those surveyed support stronger restrictions on the sale of firearms, versus 42 percent who support the status quo or would prefer fewer regulations.

On immigration reform — a topic the president indicated on Monday would be a central part of his second-term push — 52 percent favor allowing illegal immigrants to apply for legal status. That's the first time in the poll's history a majority favor a pathway to legal status.

As for the looming battle over sequestration and the debt ceiling, 45 percent of those surveyed said they would blame congressional Republicans if the country entered default. By contrast, only a third of those surveyed said the president and congressional Democrats would be to blame.

Still, the White House might have seen some moments for pause in the survey results. Nearly as many respondents — 48 percent — describe themselves as "uncertain" or "pessimistic" as the 51 percent who say they are "optimistic" or satisfied. Asked about the present's second term, just 43 percent say they are optimistic about the next four years, versus 35 percent who are pessimistic.

Seven in 10 respondents are dissatisfied with the economy, and fewer than four in 10 say they are "very" or "fairly" confident in the president's ability to promote a growing economy. Only 29 percent say Obama works effectively with Congress, just 28 percent say he has changed business as usual in Washington, and only 44 percent say he achieves his goals.

Still, much of the frustration seems to reside with congressional Republicans. Only 14 percent approve of Congress, while 81 percent disapprove. Nearly half — 49 percent — hold a negative view of the GOP, the party's worst ranking since 2008. Just a quarter of those surveyed had a positive view of the party. Only 23 percent view the Tea Party favorably.