23 April 2009

Obama Favorables

Despite the tea-bag tantrums of the far right, despite his nervous Nelly posture on torture and investigations of Bush's criminal regime, despite the daily battering of bad economic news, and despite his miscues on the people he's attempted to bring into, or has brought into, the administration, President Obama enjoys extremely high ratings of his job performance.

Most Americans believe he is taking the country in the right direction despite the travails and challenges they are coping with individually. There are indications that most of us are realistic about the amount of time it will take to turn things around.

Obama's favorables are currently at 64%, down slightly from February's 67%. Compare that to Bush (the second's) high 50s after his first 100 days. It is worth noting that is has been four years and three months since the nation felt that we are headed in the right direction. That was when Saddam Hussein was captured.

The key, underlying message is that a majority of Americans see President Obama as a strong, ethical and empathetic leader who is working to change Washington.

This can change, however. And it could change very quickly. Sixty-five percent of us are gravely concerned about the economy and fear that we can not get ahead. More than one-third of us have had a family member lose their job.

The highest ever percentage in AP-polling history, 90%, consider the economy an important issue and nearly the same number, 80%, believe that the rising federal debt will haunt and hurt future generations. Despite this wariness more people now believe we are headed in the right direction than did those in February.

Nearly one-quarter of Republicans approve of his performance thus far, but those Republicans who remain unfavorable are deeply polarized in their opposition and disdain for the president. It is yet to be seen how much influence this intransigent minority wields in the greater scheme of things.

In my opinion, Americans are a fickle bunch, and while Obama is the first real leader we've had in the White House for decades, honeymoons are short lived, and unless he can find a way to improve the outlook for seniors, working families, and the poor, he will lose his base support. No one rightfully expects that things would turn around in the first 100-days, but, many of us expect more than corporate bailouts, failed or questionable nominations for administration positions, and waffling on torture and the investigations into the criminality of the administration just past.

True, we're fighting two wars and trying to recover an economy that is as near to busted as one can get without declaring a depression, however, an optimistic outlook goes only so far. At some point the measurement becomes results rather than honest efforts.

The AP-GFK Poll was conducted April 16 - 20, by GFK Roper Public Affairs and Media, targeting land-line and cell phone users and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1%.

No comments: