[Marxism] Base erodes for Obama
lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Sep 17 07:24:31 MDT 2011
NY Times September 16, 2011
Support for Obama Slips; Unease on 2012 Candidates
By JEFF ZELENY and MEGAN THEE-BRENAN
President Obama’s support is eroding among elements of his base, and a
yearlong effort to recapture the political center has failed to attract
independent voters, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News
poll, leaving him vulnerable at a moment when pessimism over the
country’s direction is greater than at any other time since he took office.
The president’s effort to seize the initiative on the economy was well
received by the public, and clear majorities support crucial pieces of
his new job-creation program. But despite Mr. Obama’s campaign to sell
the plan to Congress and voters, more than half of those questioned said
they feared the economy was already in or was headed for a double-dip
recession, and nearly three-quarters of Americans think the country is
on the wrong track.
Republicans appear more energized than Democrats at the outset of the
2012 presidential campaign, but have not coalesced around a candidate.
Even as the party’s nominating contest seems to be narrowing to a
two-man race between Mitt Romney and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, a
majority of their respective supporters say they have reservations about
their candidate. Half of Republicans who plan to vote in a primary say
they would like more choices.
A snapshot of the Republican Party, four months before the first primary
ballots are cast, shows that voters are evenly divided between
preferring a presidential nominee who can defeat Mr. Obama or one who
aligns with them on most issues. A majority of voters who support the
Tea Party movement place a higher priority on winning back the White House.
The Republican primary campaign is unfolding in a more conservative
electorate than four years ago, with 7 in 10 Republican voters calling
themselves conservative and one-quarter who say they are moderate.
The poll, which was conducted after Mr. Obama’s economic address to
Congress last week, contains considerable warning signs for the
president. The poll found a 12-point jump since late June, to 43
percent, in the number of Americans who say the economy is getting
worse. And for the first time since taking office, his disapproval
rating has reached 50 percent in the Times and CBS News polls.
“I don’t disapprove of Barack Obama as a person, but as a president he
has disappointed me greatly,” said Ann Sheets, 69, a Democrat from
Chattanooga, Tenn., speaking in a follow-up interview. Ms. Sheets added,
“I’m realistic enough to know how difficult it is and I am not against
compromise, but I voted for a backbone. You have to draw some lines in
the sand, and I don’t think he has done that.”
The poll found a 43 percent approval rating for Mr. Obama. It is
significantly higher than Jimmy Carter, who had an approval rating of 31
percent at a similar time in his presidency, according to the Times and
CBS News poll, which showed Ronald Reagan with an approval of 46 percent
and the elder George Bush at 70 percent.
The president’s support has fallen to its lowest levels across parts of
the diverse coalition of voters who elected him, from women to
suburbanites to college graduates. And a persistent effort over the past
year to reclaim his appeal to independent voters has shown few signs of
bearing fruit, with 59 percent of this critical electoral group voicing
While Mr. Obama has not yet succeeded in winning over independent
voters, who comprise the most influential piece of the electorate,
neither have Republicans. The field is largely unknown to independents,
and few have a favorable opinion of any of the candidates.
As the Republican Party experiences something of a reinvention, with Tea
Party activists often clashing with the party’s weakening establishment,
the poll found an overall electorate that is not entirely in step with
the campaign messages of the party’s candidates.
More than 8 in 10 Republicans voters would like to see the national
health care law repealed, at least in part. About half say illegal
immigrants should be deported, rather than offered a chance at
citizenship or an opportunity to serve as guest workers.
Yet in stark contrast to the positions taken by some presidential
candidates, three-quarters of Republicans say global warming exists —
either as a result of human activity, natural patterns in the earth’s
environment, or both. Nearly 6 in 10 favor allowing same-sex couples to
either form civil unions or marry. And only one-third of Republicans
support a ban on abortion.
A slim majority of Republican voters say it is important for a
presidential candidate to share their religious beliefs. And more than
one-third of Republican primary voters say that most people they know
would not vote for a candidate who is Mormon.
Mr. Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, struggled during his
presidential bid four years ago to explain his Mormon traditions to some
voters. Mr. Perry speaks frequently to Republican audiences about his
The poll was taken as Republicans hopefuls are drawing sharp
distinctions with one another in a series of nationally televised debates.
A fight over Social Security has emerged as one of the early yet
defining differences between Mr. Perry, who has called the program a
“monstrous lie,” and Mr. Romney, who has called for maintaining the
current system with some changes to shore up its long-term financial
condition. The poll found that nearly three-quarters of Republicans said
they thought Social Security and Medicare were worth their costs.
The crosscurrents across the Republican landscape show the promise and
peril for the candidates. Nearly half of Republicans surveyed said they
considered themselves supporters of the Tea Party, but that finding was
tempered by two-thirds of Republicans who said a candidate’s
identification with the Tea Party made no difference in their vote.
“Any Republican who gets the nomination, whether it’s my first choice or
not, is going to be better than what we’ve got now,” said Allen
Hulshizer, 77, a Republican and retired structural engineer from
Glenside, Pa. “By the time you get down to the final selections, any one
of the top contenders will certainly be better than Obama.”
The nationwide telephone poll was conducted from last Saturday through
Thursday with 1,452 adults, of whom 1,356 were registered to vote. The
margin of sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points for
The poll found that most Americans are familiar with the American Jobs
Act, the president’s $447 billion proposal to create jobs. Almost half
of the public is confident the plan would create jobs and improve the
economy. A substantial majority of Americans support the main proposals
aimed at creating jobs, including tax cuts for small businesses,
improvements in the nation’s infrastructure and payroll tax cuts for
Yet despite their support, two-thirds of Americans from broad majorities
across party lines are doubtful that Congressional Democrats and
Republicans will be able to reach an agreement on a job-creation package
despite near universal bipartisan support for compromise. The poll also
found a historically low approval rating for Congress, with just 19
percent approving of Republicans, compared with 28 percent that approve
The poll had a few promising signs for Mr. Obama. Americans strongly
support his position that creating jobs should be a higher priority than
cutting spending. Democrats and independents agree on that view, while
Republicans do not. And across party lines, Americans support his
position that a deficit-reduction plan should include a mix of tax
increases and spending cuts.
But the poll also found a dark mood on Mr. Obama’s handling of the
economy, with 34 percent approving and 57 percent disapproving. His
numbers on job creation are similarly bleak, with 40 percent approving
of his performance and 53 percent disapproving. Two-thirds of the public
say Mr. Obama has not made progress in fixing the economy, even though a
majority of people concede the condition of the national economy is not
something a president can do a lot about.
“I have incredible empathy for the spot he’s in. He walked into the huge
mess left behind by George Bush,” said Barbara Cornell, 56, a Democrat
and hospital chaplain from Shoreline, Wash. Ms. Cornell added, “I
believe he is a good person, but there are all these issues and problems
that aren’t being dealt with.”
Allison Kopicki and Marina Stefan contributed reporting.
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