Friday, May 13, 2011

New AP poll has good news for Obama

The Associated Press reports results of a new poll that shows Americans are growing more optimistic about the U.S. economy, a sentiment that is benefiting President Barack Obama despite public disenchantment with his handling of rising gasoline prices and swollen government budget deficits.

An Associated Press-GfK poll shows that more than 2 out of 5 people believe the U.S. economy will get better, while a third think it will stay the same and nearly a fourth think it will get worse, a rebound from last month's more pessimistic attitude. And, for the first time since the 100-day mark of his presidency, slightly more than half approve of Obama's stewardship of the economy.

45% now say the country is moving in the right direction vs. 37% last November. One person interviewed said. "Once you hit bottom the only one way to go is up," said John Bair, 23, a photographer and filmmaker from Pittsburgh. "Everybody that I come in contact with seems to be on the upswing. I consider that a pretty good thing."

The same poll says 60% approve of the job Obama is doing-highest approval rating he has had in two years—and a majority (53%) say he should be re-elected vs. just 39% last November.  In contrast, 66% DISAPPROVE of Republicans in Congress. I think the Obama approval is high in this poll (Polling says his average now is 51.7.  He was in the low 40’s in January.) I think Obama is sustaining some bounce from the bin Laden affair. Also, I think people are generally getting more confident about the future. They seem to shopping around here and people are beginning to get jobs. Gas prices remain the big drag. If they come down some and oil prices are already down so they probably will, I think Obama will be able to get up into the mid-50s in approval. If he gets there and holds on, he almost certainly will be re-elected.

Republicans understand this, of course.  As I have said before, Republicans are going to do all they can to tube the recovery, lower consumer confidence and send unemployment back up.  All—and I mean, ALL—of the posturing you are seeing about the debt ceiling, massive cuts, more tax breaks for the rich, and continued tax expenditures for unneeded subsidies are ALL aimed at stopping the economic recovery, destroying consumer confidence and so on.  Think about it.  If you hated Obama and desperately wanted to defeat him but realized your chances of doing so are next to nil if the economy improves and the unemployment rate goes down, what would you do?  I know, it is a totally cynical thing to do—put your own political well-being ahead of the country’s but that is EXACTLY what we are seeing.

The AP poll was conducted 5/9-11.  It was a telephone survey of 1,001 Americans.

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