Americans Still Hopeful About Obama
by Jonathan Singer, Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 12:28:30 PM EST
A counterintuitive finding from the latest Heartland Monitor poll released by Allstate and National Journal:
The latest survey finds 55 percent of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track – the highest percentage yet in the Heartland Monitor series. In addition, President Obama's job approval rating has dipped to its lowest position in the series, to 47 percent, but 52 percent believe the country is beginning to move in the right direction because of his policies. [emphasis added]
Ron Brownstein explains these numbers further:
That balancing act is seen most clearly when respondents assess the impact of Obama's policies on the country over the past year. Thirty-one percent say that the country is significantly worse off because of the policies he has pursued. Those critics greatly outnumbered the 13 percent who say the country is "significantly better off" because of the president's policies. But the largest group--52 percent--says that the country is "not significantly better off yet, but [is] beginning to move in the right direction because of the policies Obama has pursued."
It's difficult to discern deep meaning out of these numbers: that 65 percent of Americans believe that Barack Obama's policies have either already made the country significantly better off or are beginning to move the country in the right direction, but just 47 percent give the President positive approval marks.
These numbers suggest that while a large majority of Americans remain hopeful in the Obama presidency (the nearly two-thirds who believe his policies have done good or are beginning to), they are still waiting for tangible evidence that things are actually getting better. Aspiration isn't enough; if it were, President Obama's approval rating would be 65 percent in this poll, or close to it. The silver lining to this, of course, is that if things do get better, Americans appear primed to give Barack Obama credit.