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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

OBama Solidifies Support As Voter Optimism Rises

A new survey of LVs by DCorps and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, conducted 3/25-29, on the eve on Congress’ pending vote on President Obama’s budget, shows rising optimism among the electorate, continued popularity of President Obama, and “broad support for his priorities and approach to the budget, particularly when framed as a part of a long-term economic program.” (Analysis here, Crosstabs here, Survey PDF here)
The survey notes that 38 percent of LVs, “the highest level we have recorded in over three years,” now say the nation “is going in the right direction” and those rating “the state of the economy as cool” dropped 6 percent. Moreover, according to the survey overview:

The Republican Party remains marginal as the gap in feelings toward the two parties continues to be steady and large. Meanwhile, Obama continues to sustain his remarkable popularity; his 61 percent favorability rating and 58 percent approval ratings are both near their all-time highs. More important, the president earns extraordinary ratings on a range of key attributes, with 72 percent saying he is a strong leader and 74 percent saying he is willing to work with both parties, for instance. These scores are down only slightly from the halcyon days immediately following his inauguration.
…Six-in-ten voters agree with Obama’s argument that we can only fix the economy and create long-term prosperity with a broad agenda that includes investments in health care and energy (versus just 36 percent who agree with critics that say Obama should put those issues on hold until the financial crisis is past). And by nearly two-to-one they agree that Obama is right to seek solutions on a range of issues, not just the economy. Similarly strong majorities support Obama’s position that we can best balance the budget in the long term by making investments that will lead to economic growth (rather than by limiting spending) and reject the Republican assertion that Obama is trying to implement a radical liberal agenda after campaigning as a moderate.

But there is a cautionary note:

Obama’s budget, when presented alone, has stable majority support, however, that support lacks intensity and does not necessarily move voters to reward Members of Congress who support it. And Republican attacks, particularly those centered on linking the budget to AIG and bailouts, do have an effect, causing a slight shift in support away from the budget. The concern for progressives is that Obama’s plan might be seen as just a budget and be conflated with the unpopular bailouts of the financial and auto industries.

When the budget is presented in context as “part of a plan for long-term economic growth and prosperity” on the other hand, public support becomes “significantly stronger and more enthusiastic,” resulting in “a small net increase in voters’ intention to vote to reelect their Member, even after facing Republican attacks.”

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