President Barack Obama studies a challenge coin presented to him by an emergency responder during a greet in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building South Court Auditorium Ante Room before remarks urging action to avoid the automatic budget cuts scheduled if Congress fails to find a path forward on balanced deficit reduction, Feb. 19, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama studies a challenge coin presented to him by an emergency responder during a greet in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building South Court Auditorium Ante Room before remarks urging action to avoid the automatic budget cuts scheduled if Congress fails to find a path forward on balanced deficit reduction, Feb. 19, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama starts his second term with a clear upper hand over GOP leaders on issues from guns to immigration that are likely to dominate the year, a USA TODAY/Pew Research Center Poll finds. On the legislation rated most urgent ““ cutting the budget deficit ““ even a majority of Republican voters endorse Obama’s approach of seeking tax hikes as well as spending cuts. – On Issues, Public More Aligned with Obama than GOP

IT’S GOOD to be President Barack Obama today.

The biggest loser remains Speaker John Boehner and the extremist wing of the House.

To begin digging out, three of four Americans say a deficit plan should include both tax increases and spending cuts, akin to the “balanced” approach Obama backs. While there is stronger support to cut spending than raise taxes, only one in five say a deficit-reduction package should rely solely on spending cuts, the position embraced by House Speaker John Boehner.