New poll shows President Obama's last year in office was better than his first. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

Here’s one way of interpreting the new Fox News poll taken before Christmas:

President Obama’s last year in office was a dramatically better year for voters than his first. Some 53 percent say 2016 was a good year for them. While that’s down a touch from 56 percent last year, it’s a big increase from 34 percent who felt positive at the end of 2009.

Another, not-inconsistent way of describing this is to say that the incessant lamentations over 2016 from the pundit class are a bit out of touch with the way most Americans perceived it. Only 35 percent said it was a bad year for themselves and their families, about the same as in recent years and six points better than the result from December 2012.

The poll’s respondents continue to have a negative perception of the economy — 65 percent say it is either “only fair” or “poor,” but that’s actually a substantial improvement over this August (75 percent) or last November (79 percent). But they are optimistic about how it will develop. Twenty-five percent believe the economy will be “a lot better” a year from now, the highest result for that question since December 2003. Overall, 56 percent believe it will be either “a lot” or “a little” better, which is the best result since the question was asked in April 2009.

Respondents are also mostly “proud” (66 percent) to have had Obama as president. A much smaller majority (50 percent) say they are also proud Trump will be president.

Obama’s favorable ratings remain strong (57 percent favorable) and Trump’s slightly negative (51 percent unfavorable to 47 percent favorable) but higher than they’ve ever been in the history of Fox’s polling.

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