Tales from the Trail

Obama focus on policy, not polls – White House

The White House is downplaying several new polls showing President Obama’s job approval ratings plunging to new lows along with rising public concern over high unemployment and the sluggish economy.

“The president is focused on the measures he can take…  to address the urgent need to grow our economy and create jobs; to deal with the fact that economic growth is not fast enough and that job creation is not substantial enough,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said at Tuesday’s press briefing when asked how concerned Obama is about the poll numbers.

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows Obama’s overall job approval rating at a low of 44 percent, down 3 percentage points since July.  More than half of Americans  now disapprove of Obama’s job performance and one in three say they’re worse off financially since he’s been in the White House, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll. And a poll by Politico and George Washington University shows 72 percent of voters believe the country is heading in the wrong direction.

Asked what Obama would say to people who feel worse off now than before he took office, Carney said the president
would tell them: “He fully understands the anxiety that is out there among the American people about the economy, the frustration at the pace of growth, the frustration at the pace of job creation. And that’s why he feels it is so urgent to take action now and not to simply say, oh, well, we shouldn’t do anything and then let it all be decided next year after an election.

Obama will deliver proposals for putting people back to work in a speech to Congress Thursday night.

U.S. public says Giffords shooting, rhetoric unrelated

RTXWDK6_Comp-150x150Most Americans see no relation between the attempted assassination of congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the political tactic of lacing vitriolic rhetoric with firearms analogies.

That’s the conclusion of a CBS News poll that found most Republicans (69 pct), most independents (56 pct) and even a plurality of Democrats (49 pct) believe the two phenomena unrelated.

Those numbers add up to 57 percent of Americans overall — a true majority though not quite big enough to break a Senate filibuster.

Congress hits new low in public opinion

USA-HEALTHCARE/PELOSIThe American public’s opinion of Congress has hit a new low, with only 13 percent of adults saying they approve of the job the national legislature is doing.

That’s according to a new Gallup survey, which finds an 83 percent disapproval rating for Congress — the worst the polling organization has seen in more than 30 years of congressional performance tracking.

The ‘good’ news is that Congress’ rating slipped only 1 percentage point  from last time.

Washington Extra – Midterm, one-term?

As we approach half-time in his presidency, just over half of Americans believe Barack Obama will not win re-election in 2012. Our final Reuters/Ipsos poll showed just one-third of those surveyed still thought President Obama would win a second term. An amazing transformation in the national mood in less than two years since the inauguration.

BRITAIN ECLIPSEA 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll found 39 percent of those surveyed believe Obama should be a one-term president, compared to 26 percent who wanted a second term and 33 percent who were unsure.

But as that oracle of election wisdom (my barber) observed to me today, for all the polls Obama’s chances in 2012 may come down to just one number. The jobless rate. Anything over 8 percent in 2012, and it will be a huge uphill battle for the president, Curtis predicted. Six percent and he stands a chance. Wise words indeed.

Are Obama’s approval ratings that bad? Maybe not, relatively speaking

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President Obama’s approval rating has been below 50 percent for most of 2010. But are things really so bad? Gallup suggests they’re not, relatively speaking.

In fact, Democratic incumbents who’ve shunned or tried to avoid associating with Obama may have denied themselves the chance to firm their own party base for an election contest that’s all about turnout.

The Obama approval rating, at the moment, stands in the mid- to low-40s and foreshadows stiff losses for congressional Democrats on Nov. 2. 

GOP, conservatives seen dominating November turnout

USA-POLITICS/Bad news, Democrats.

The crowd most likely to vote on Nov. 2 is a lot more Republican and a lot more conservative than the one that gave Congress to the GOP in 1994.

So says a new Gallup survey that forecasts Republican and conservative majorities at polling stations for the congressional mid-term elections.

Fifty-seven percent of people who call themselves likely voters are Republican or lean Republican, while 54 percent are conservative, according to Gallup.

Are folks ‘for’ or ‘agin’ healthcare reform? Both, according to the partisan rhetoric

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Republicans say Americans don’t want the president’s healthcare reforms. Democrats beg to differ. What’s true? Depends how you figure, though as Mark Twain observed: figures don’t lie, but liars … well, you know.

Not that anyone would lie, of course. But opinion polls have been dumping figures aplenty into the debate in Congress, and the debaters have been eagerly using them to patch up their arguments’ foundations.

Take the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey: 46 percent want Congress to pass President Barack Obama’s plan; 45 percent don’t.

Obama bests Republicans on healthcare reform in public confidence poll

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Barack Obama appears to be winning the popularity contest over healthcare reform that’s been playing out in public since his White House summit on Feb. 25.

A new Gallup poll suggests that 49 percent of Americans have confidence in Obama to make the right recommendations.

That’s not a majority. But it’s way higher than the 32 percent who think Republicans in Congress would do the right thing.
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The findings appear to contradict Republican claims that the public favors their decentralized, piecemeal approach over Obama’s comprehensive reform plan.

Congress bracing for anti-incumbent anger among voters

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By the look of things, the American public just might vote Congress out of office this November – Republican and Democrat alike.

But Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine sounds downright stoic, even as he admits that his own party could lose more than 28 House seats and four Senate seats.

Kaine says Democrats must accept voter anger as a fact of life in an economy that is recovering only slowly from the worst recession since the 1930s.

Republican “blank page” challenges Obama

OBAMA/The next U.S. presidential election is more than 2-1/2 years away. But pollsters are already asking how President Barack Obama would stack up against a Republican challenger.

The results are favorable. But for whom? No one can say.

Obama is in a statistical dead heat against an unnamed Republican candidate, leading the challenger 44 percent to 42 percent, according to a Gallup poll with a 4-percentage-point margin of error. Gallup surveyed 1,025 adults Feb. 1-3.

Media pundits are divided about what the findings mean, or don’t mean.

Some say the data are meaningless except as a gauge of 2010 voter anger toward Washington and incumbents generally.