TDS Co-Editor William Galston has a post up at The New Republic, “Is the Public Ready for Bold Action?,” which makes an opinion data-based case that President Obama doesn’t have a lot of leeway remaining for audacious reforms regarding health care and other progressive initiatives. As Galston explains:
…Trust in government now stands at 23 percent—the lowest level in at least twelve years. A stunning 76 percent of Americans believe that the government in Washington will do the right thing only some of the time, or never. These statistics confirm the findings from a recent CBS/New York Times poll, and they suggest that proponents of government action must overcome deep skepticism….fully 53 percent of the respondents expressed the fear that if government gets more heavily involved in health care, it will just make matters worse. Similarly, the NBC/WSJ survey found 51 percent more concerned that government will end up “going too far and making the health care system worse than it now is in terms of quality of care and choice of doctor” versus only 44 percent concerned that the government will not do enough to lower costs and cover the uninsured.
Galston continues, limning the statistical decline in public confidence in the leadership of the President, congress and the political parties. He concludes “This bad news does not warrant the conclusion that the president’s program has been misguided. It does suggest, however, that the bold actions he has undertaken have taken a toll in public confidence and support.”