President Obama and Democrats should be encouraged by an article in today’s Washington Post, “Most see Obama as ‘strong leader,’ say deal on debt ceiling does not require cuts” by Jon Cohen and Peyton M. Craighill, who report on a new Washington Post-ABC News poll:
Fully 55 percent say Obama is doing a good job overall, more than double the 24 percent saying so of the Republicans in Congress. Among political independents, 54 percent approve of the president’s job performance; just 21 percent give good ratings to congressional Republicans. (At 37 percent overall and 30 percent among independents, the Democrats in Congress do little better.)
The GOP congressional leadership also takes flak for a perceived unwillingness to work with Obama on important issues: 67 percent of all Americans see them as doing “too little” to compromise with the president. Far fewer, 48 percent, say so about Obama’s willingness to compromise with the GOP.
The percentage of Americans seeing the Republican leadership as overly intransigent is up 13 percentage points since December 2010, just after the GOP reclaimed control of the House of Representatives. The biggest increases since that time have been among Republicans and conservatives, with roughly 20-point jumps in blaming their party’s leaders for not doing enough to strike deals with the president. Half of all Republicans say the GOP leadership is not doing enough to compromise.
Craighill and Cohen point out, however, that there is significant room for improvement as regards public opinions about Obama’s economic policies, and the “wrong track” numbers are too high. Overall, though, the rest of the authors’ nuanced analysis of the poll results in the article provides good news for Obama and very bad news for Republicans.