Mike Berman’s Washington Watch

June 26, 2009 11:58 AM

President Obama

Over the last several months, Obama's overall approval rating has dropped some in the NBC/WSJ survey, but has stayed relatively stable.

Obama overall job approval
February 60/26% 62/15%
April 61/30% 66/24%
June 56/34% 63/26%
Obama job approval on the economy
February 56/31% 55/24%
April 55/37% 56/34%
June 51/38% 57/35%
Obama job approval on foreign policy
February -- 50/15%
April 56/31% 59/19%
June 54/36% 59/23%
Obama job approval on health care
June -- 44/34%

Below is how Obama's overall approval rating matches up with other modern Presidents' ratings at the same point (mid-June) in their first terms (Gallup surveys):

Approve Disapprove
Eisenhower 73 18
Kennedy  72 14
G Bush (I) 70 14
Nixon 63 16
Carter 63 18
Reagan 59 29
Obama 58 33
GW Bush (II)  55 33
Clinton 39 50

Postive feelings toward Obama have dropped only slightly since January -- 66% to 60%. However, negative feels have grown from 14% to 29%. [NBC/WSJ 6/09]

In December 2008, the NBC/WSJ survey began asking respondents how strongly they relate to Obama as their President.

The number who related to him has fallen somewhat, from 74% in January to 65% in June.

Strongly Relate Somewhat A
December '08 47 27 12 9
January '09 50 26 12 9
February '09 43 26 13 16
48 27 13 22

Interestingly, 58% believe that Obama is a new-style Democrat, who will be careful with the public's money. 36% say he is an old-style tax-and-spend Democrat. [WP/ABC 6/09]

In February 84% thought Obama inherited the current economic conditions, while 8% saw him as responsible. 72% still believe he inherited these conditions, but now 14% hold him accountable. [NBC/WSJ 6/09]

The question for the Obama Administration is whether its various efforts to deal with the myriad financial problems will be effective before the lines cross and more people hold Obama accountable than believe he inherited the problems.

At the present time, a plurality (48%) believe that Obama's policies have not yet had an effect on the economy. 32% believe that his policies have made things better, while 15% say he has made them worse. [NYT/CBS 6/09]

74% of Americans say they have heard at least something about the Federal budget deficit. By 52% to 41% they believe the Government should spend money to reduce the deficit, rather than stimulating the economy. And 60% to 30% they do not think the Obama Administration has developed a clear plan for dealing with the deficit. [NYT/CBS 6/09]

The public jury is out on whether the economic stimulus plan has helped or hurt the national economy. 28% say it has helped, 19% say it has hurt, and 52% say it has made no difference. [WP/ABC 6/09]

Some commentators have argued that Obama has taken on too many issues at the same time, and has effectively taken time and attention away from those issues that are most important. 60% of the public supports the proposition that he has taken on so many issues because the country has so many problems. 30% disagree. [NBC/WSH 6/09]

It does appear that Obama's programs are begining to face the legislative equivalent of Bernulli's principle.* If you try to force too much legislation through the legislative pipeline at the same time, the process becomes clogged, either as a function of a lack of time or, more often, as a function of the interplay/collision of time and competing interests.

Obama's apparent willingness to be flexible on what represents the accomplishment of his goals (there does not appear to be a my way or the highway attitude), will go a long way to making achievement of his goals possible.

[*Bernulli's principle - if you force air through a straw faster and faster, eventually the straw becomes blocked and the air stops passing through. Apparently, the speeding air going through the straw lowers the pressure and the outside air pressure closes off the far end of the straw.]

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