President Barack Obama is flanked by veterans while speaking about jobs in the Rose Garden at the White House, on November 7, 2011 in Washington

*A new poll shows that despite a lack of faith in his handling of the economy, President Barack Obama still leads his Republican rivals exactly one year before Election Day.

According to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Monday, nearly three-quarters of respondents said Obama’s administration had fallen short on the economy, on improving oversight of Wall Street and the banks and on the federal budget deficit.

Most of the respondents said the United States was headed in the wrong direction and just 25 percent said they believe the U.S. economy will improve in the next 12 months, the poll found.

According to the poll, Obama’s job-approval rating stands at 44 percent. Fifty-one percent said they disapprove of the way the president is doing his job.

But 52 percent of respondents approve of his handling of foreign-policy and 71 percent support his decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq by this December.

Also, Obama continues to run ahead of the Republican presidential front-runners in the 2012 White House race, according to the poll. In hypothetical general-election match-ups, Obama leads former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney 49 percent to 43 percent and he leads businessman Herman Cain by 15 points, 53 percent to 38 percent.

Obama’s lead narrows, however, in a two-way contest against a generic Republican. Forty-five percent said they would “probably vote” for Obama while 42 percent said they would “probably vote” for the Republican presidential nominee.

The poll of 1,000 people was conducted November 2-5 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.