[Marxism] Confidence in Obama at all-time low

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Jul 13 07:11:39 MDT 2010

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Confidence in Obama reaches new low, Washington Post-ABC News poll finds

By Dan Balz and Jon Cohen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 13, 2010; A01

Public confidence in President Obama has hit a new low, according to the 
latest Washington Post-ABC News poll. Four months before midterm 
elections that will define the second half of his term, nearly six in 10 
voters say they lack faith in the president to make the right decisions 
for the country, and a clear majority once again disapproves of how he 
is dealing with the economy.

Regard for Obama is still higher than it is for members of Congress, but 
the gap has narrowed. About seven in 10 registered voters say they lack 
confidence in Democratic lawmakers and a similar proportion say so of 
Republican lawmakers.

Overall, more than a third of voters polled -- 36 percent -- say they 
have no confidence or only some confidence in the president, 
congressional Democrats and congressional Republicans. Among 
independents, this disillusionment is higher still. About two-thirds of 
all voters say they are dissatisfied with or angry about the way the 
federal government is working.

(See the raw data of the Washington Post-ABC poll)

Such broad negative sentiments have spurred a potent anti-incumbent 
mood. Just 26 percent of registered voters say they are inclined to 
support their representative in the House this fall; 62 percent are 
inclined to look for someone new.

Democrats nationally remain on the defensive as they seek to retain both 
houses of Congress this fall. Registered voters are closely divided on 
the question of whether they will back Republicans or Democrats in House 
races. Among those who say they are sure to cast ballots in November, 49 
percent side with the GOP and 45 percent with Democrats.

Overall, a slim majority of all voters say they would prefer Republican 
control of Congress so that the legislative branch would act as a check 
on the president's policies. Those most likely to vote in the midterms 
prefer the GOP over continued Democratic rule by a sizable margin of 56 
percent to 41 percent.

Economic worries continue to frame the congressional campaigns. Almost 
all Americans rate the economy negatively, although compared with the 
depths of the recession in early 2009, far fewer now describe economic 
conditions as "poor." Only about a quarter of all Americans think the 
economy is improving.

Recent economic developments -- a declining stock market, problems in 
the housing industry and an unemployment report showing only tepid job 
growth in the private sector -- may have bruised the president's ratings.

Just 43 percent of all Americans now say they approve of the job Obama 
is doing on the economy, while 54 percent disapprove. Both are the 
worst, marginally, of his presidency. Even a third of Democrats give him 
negative marks here. And overall, intensity runs clearly against the 
president on the issue, with twice as many people rating him strongly 
negative as strongly positive.

At the same time, Democrats generally continue to hold the edge over 
Republicans when it comes to dealing with the nation's fragile economy. 
But that Democratic lead is slimmer than it was in 2006 before the party 
won back control of Congress. And among those most likely to vote this 
year, 39 percent trust the Democrats more and 40 percent the 
Republicans. About 17 percent of likely voters put their confidence in 
neither side.

Public opinion is split down the middle on the question of whether the 
government should spend more money to stimulate the economy in a way 
that leads to job creation. Among those who support such new spending, 
18 percent change their minds when asked what they think if such outlays 
could sharply increase the budget deficit. In that scenario, 57 percent 
opposed another round of spending.

About six in 10 Democrats say they would be more likely to vote for a 
candidate who favors new government spending, while 55 percent of 
Republicans say they would be less likely to do so. Independent voters 
are divided on the question, with 41 percent more apt to oppose and 35 
percent to support.

On at least one issue pending in Congress there is broader agreement: A 
sizable majority says the government should extend unemployment benefits.

Most Democrats and independents support increasing the time limit on 
government payments for jobless claims, and they are joined by 43 
percent of Republicans. The notion clearly divides the GOP: Sixty 
percent of conservative Republicans oppose the idea, while 57 percent of 
moderate or liberal Republicans support it.
Low marks on deficit

On the question of Obama's leadership, 42 percent of registered voters 
now say they have confidence that he will make the right decisions for 
the country, with 58 saying they do not. At the start of his presidency, 
about six in 10 expressed confidence in his decision-making.

Obama's overall job-approval rating stands at 50 percent, equaling his 
low point in Post-ABC polling; 47 percent disapprove of the job he is 
doing. For the first time in his presidency, those who strongly 
disapprove now significantly outnumber those who strongly approve.

Among those who say they definitely will vote in November, 53 percent 
disapprove of the way he is handling his responsibilities.

The president's approval ratings reached a new low among whites, at 40 
percent, with his positive marks dipping under 50 percent for the first 
time among white college-educated women.

On the issues tested in the poll, Obama's worst ratings come on his 
handling of the federal budget deficit, where 56 percent disapprove and 
40 percent approve. He scores somewhat better on health-care reform (45 
percent approve) and regulation of the financial industry (44 percent). 
His best marks come on his duties as commander in chief, with 55 percent 

Obama's overall standing puts him at about the same place President Bill 
Clinton was in the summer of 1994, a few months before Republicans 
captured the House and Senate in an electoral landslide.

President Ronald Reagan, who also contended with a serious recession at 
the outset of his first term, was a little lower at this point in 1982, 
with a 46 percent to 45 percent split on his approval ratings. 
Republicans went on to lose about two dozen seats in the House that fall.

Of course, Reagan and Clinton subsequently rebounded and went on to win 
reelection easily. Obama advisers find some hope from that history, even 
as the historical record foreshadows Democratic losses this November.

The latest poll was conducted by conventional and cellular telephone 
Wednesday through Sunday among a random national sample of 1,288 adults 
including interviews with 1,151 registered voters. The results for the 
full survey have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 
percentage points.

Polling analyst Jennifer Agiesta and polling assistant Kyle Dropp 
contributed to this report.

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