A new Gallup Poll finds a majority of Americans agree that, as President Obama said in his election night speech, “we know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come.”

Perhaps, but our heads tell us we’ve got a long way to go—and that’s the flip side to Gallup’s findings. Today, the percentage of Americans who believe things will be worse in four years has doubled since President Obama was first elected, 20 percent back in 2009 compared to 41 percent today.

Even with 54 percent of Americans believing the country will be better off, the President has his work cut out for him. As Gallup concludes:

As President Obama probably knows, however, the percentage saying things will be better off in four years can quickly fade as the hard work of a new term begins, especially given the size of the nation's upcoming challenges — in particular the "fiscal cliff," unemployment, and the many other priorities facing the president. Obama needs only look at his first term as proof positive of this: Despite 72% expressing optimism in early 2009, Obama's agenda was met with strong opposition on Capitol Hill, and eventually the president and his party were dealt a setback with the 2010 congressional elections. Many Americans have sanguine expectations for the next four years, but it will nonetheless be a challenging task to meet those goals.