As Friday’s staff post on a new Democracy Corps survey illustrated, Barack Obama’s general leadership as president continues to enjoy robust public support, despite the reams of MSM, conservative, and sometimes progressive opinion suggesting that his first days in office have been characterized by a steady fall from grace.
This reality has even penetrated one of Washington’s most important bullhorns for self-referential beltway buzz, Politico. In an article today entitled “Public Still Sky-High on Obama “Brand,” Ben Smith notes in some detailt that all the screaming over the stimulus bill, Daschle, Gregg, Obama’s various “missteps,” and the supposed re-energization of the GOP, doesn’t seem to be resonating that well around the country:
With Barack Obama’s victory in passing a massive stimulus package marred by days of bad press — as not a single House Republican backed the bill, his health czar went down in flames and his second pick for commerce secretary walked away — the administration has been cut down to size, and lost some of its bipartisan sheen.
Such, at least, has been the beltway chatter, but so far the numbers don’t back it up.
Obama’s approval rating remains well above 60 percent in tracking polls. A range of state pollsters said they’d seen no diminution in the president’s sky-high approval ratings, and no improvement in congressional Republicans’ dismal numbers.
And that’s before the stimulus creates billions of dollars in spending on popular programs, which could, at least temporarily, further boost Obama’s popularity.
“It’s eerie — I read the news from the Beltway, and there’s this disconnect with the polls from the Midwest that I see all around me,” said Ann Seltzer, the authoritative Iowa pollster who works throughout the Midwest.
Now this is hardly the first time in recent history that daily news cycle wars in Washington have been erroneously conflated–particularly by Republicans–with national political perceptions, as anyone who remembers the monomaniacal GOP effort to drive Bill Clinton from office will attest. But no matter what your partisan allegiences happen to be, it is good to be reminded that the universe doesn’t revolve around Washington scorecards of who is up and who is down. Americans, for all their foibles, don’t have the long-term memory capacity of a flea, and on same occasions have a better understanding of broad historical trends, philosophical differences between the parties, and empircal reality than the smart but self-absorbed denizens of the Emerald City.