Democracy Corps has just released an important new study, “President Obama’s Political Project,” the first in-depth analysis of how the public perceives “the president’s mission and larger mandate for the country.” The study is based on data from two surveys of LV’s, conducted for Democracy Corps by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner from 1/26-29 and 2/9-10. Among the findings (from the overview):
Not surprising, when forced to choose voters say that returning the economy to sound footing and creating quality jobs is Obama’s top goal. But more surprising, given the dominance of the stimulus story, is that voters see through this to other goals – which are seen as somewhat more important to the Obama project – and thus give the presidency definition beyond the recovery. For the public, at the heart of the Obama project is a turn away from greed and the super-rich and toward the middle class and its values, with greater opportunity, security and rising prosperity.
The PDF Analysis of the survey data indicates that 60 percent of voters support the Presdient’s economic recovery plan, while “a cautious 40 percent” agree that “he is keeping his promise to create or save 3 milllion jobs.” A remarkable 82 percent of survey respondents agreed that “making sure this country works not just for the super-rich. but that everyone has a chance to succeed and prosper” is Obama’s “most important goal.”
Interestingly, the public fervently supports Obama’s efforts on behalf of “restoring respect for America in the world as a moral leader, restoring our key alliances and putting more emphasis on diplomacy,” with 60 percent agreeing that “Obama is keeping his promise” in that regard. As the overview explains:
Equally surprising, given the focus on the economy, is the importance that voters say Obama places on restoring respect for America around the world. The view that he wants to change how America relates to the world is nearly as strong as the perception that he is committed to greater equity and restoring the middle class and ranks above short-term job creation. This response underscores the scope of what voters think Obama is trying to achieve.
Further, DCorps reports that,
…the public is very attentive to the larger character of his project and how it can change the American society and America’s position in the world. Over 60 percent of voters say Obama and the Democrats are making progress addressing the country’s problems, twice the number who say they are faltering, but that judgment and the character of the Obama political project will emerge in the struggles ahead.
Despite all of the fuss about cabinet appointments and other issues and distractions, the public sees a clear mandate for for President Obama with a high degree of confidence that he is doing his best to address America’s critical priorities.