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Obama wins points in poll on economy

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama is reaping political benefits from the country's brighter economic mood. A new poll shows that Republicans and Democrats alike are increasingly saying the nation is heading in the right direction and that most independents now approve of the way he's addressing the nation's post-recession period.

But still-struggling Americans are fretting over rising gasoline prices. Just weeks before the summer travel season begins, the Associated Press-GfK survey finds pump prices rising in importance and most people unhappy with how the Democratic president has handled the issue.

Thirty percent in the poll describe the economy as "good," a 15-point increase since December and the highest level since the AP-GfK poll first asked the question in 2009. Roughly the same share say the economy got better in the past month, while 18 percent said it got worse, the most positive read in over a year.

Four in 10 said they expect the economy to get better in the next year.

The AP-GfK poll was conducted from Feb. 16 through Monday by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications.

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