Democracy Corps is out with a new survey of what Americans think about the incoming Obama administration, with interesting comparisons to how people felt in 1993, shortly after Bill Clinton took office with a “change” mandate.
The good news is that Obama’s getting strong positive reviews as president-elect, with especially strong and deep support for his agenda:
[T]wo-thirds say they support Obama’s policies and goals for the country, with a near majority supporting them strongly. Meanwhile, just about a quarter of the electorate opposes Obama’s goals and policies. In early 1993, with the transition and cabinet further advanced, a slightly larger majority (72 percent) supported Clinton’s goals and policies, but he did not enjoy nearly the same intensity of support, with just 17 percent strongly supportive.
The prospect for greater breadth of support is evident in the 85 percent of moderates, two-thirds of independents (67 percent) and nearly one-third of McCain voters (30 percent) who support Obama’s goals and policies. Notably, Obama’s support is strong among women (75 percent), union households (76 percent), unmarried women (84 percent) and Catholics (68 percent); also, at 69 percent, support for the president-elect’s policies is even stronger among older voters (those 50 and over) than it is among younger voters.
The not-so-good news is that Americans seem to want Congress to exert an “independent” role with respect to Obama’s agenda, and are less worried about congressional “obstruction” than they were in 1993:
A plurality of voters (49 to 42 percent) are more concerned that the Democratic Congress will be too much of a rubber stamp than they are that Congress will prevent Obama from enacting the changes he thinks are needed; these results are reversed from early 1993. We observed similar results (48 to 43 percent) when we asked this question a different way, adding partisanship into the mix by asking if voters were more worried about the Democratic Congress being a rubber stamp or the Republicans in Congress obstructing Obama.
This is the story-line that Republicans are already pushing in a vast overinterpretation of Saxby Chambliss’ runoff win in Georgia yesterday: voters want them to restrain, not support, Obama. This is not a course of action in which they will need a whole lot of encouragement from polls or anywhere else.