Published: Feb 23, 2012 12:09 PM EST
Updated: Feb 23, 2012 5:13 PM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) - An improving economic mood is brightening President Barack Obama's re-election prospects.

A new Associated Press-GfK poll finds both Republicans and Democrats are increasingly saying the country is heading in the right direction. Most independents now approve the way he's addressing the post-recession period.

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.

But rising gasoline prices are a potential stumbling block. The poll finds it's a growing concern, with most people unhappy with how Obama has dealt with the issue.