Friday, August 26, 2011

Interesting views about Obama in Pew's latest poll (updated)

Pew published a poll yesterday showing some of the same things we've seen in others recently. Namely, approval ratings for everyone in D.C. are down. As I watch that, I tend to write it off to the debt ceiling deal where, as I've suggested before, Republican intransigence tends to result in "a pox on both your houses." It's a hard message to overcome, but since Republicans are doing significantly worse than President Obama and Democrats, I'd suggest we did as well as can be expected in getting the story through the media's addiction to false equivalency.

But there are some other numbers about President Obama that struck me as significant - especially in the midst of all that.

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The drop in the first two numbers is likely a reaction to what I described above. Yes, it becomes difficult to "get things done" when you're dealing with Republicans who oppose anything you propose...just because it's you who propose it.

But take a look at the rest of that list.

A large majority of people think President Obama "stands up for what he believes in." That flies in the face of the extremists on both the left and right who call him "weak" and suggest that he compromises too readily.

Also incredibly strong are the numbers of people who find him "warm and friendly" (that one's for you MoDo), "trustworthy" and someone who "cares about people like me."

I'm one of those that thinks polling numbers on the presidential race are pretty meaningless right now. But these numbers suggest that, while people are frustrated with the politics of Washington, they also have some awareness of who is fighting for them.

UPDATE: Jonathan Chait, the man who so accurately described "Obama's method" as of one conciliatory rhetoric as ruthless strategy - highlights this finding from Pew's poll.

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And then he reminds us of this:

The question hanging over Obama's political strategy has always been the endgame. His obsession with seeming reasonable makes sense if he uses it as an asset to spend down at the end. You do everything to show your willingness to compromise, and when the opposition refuses and refuses, finally you assail them for their fanaticism. It's harrowing to watch, because we don't know until the last minute whether we're witnessing a rope-a-dope strategy, or just a boxer being beaten to a pulp.

Those who doubt Obama haven't typically had the patience to wait and see that end game.

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