Obama Approval Polls

by: Chris Bowers

Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 13:59

OK, I have to do this. It has been a month since I have published a front-page article about polling. I need my fix:

Obama approval
Rassmussen: Approve 67%--30% Disapprove (asked about "job as President-elect")
CNN: Approve 75%--22% Disapprove (asked about "cabinet appointments")
Gallup: Approve 78%--13% Disapprove (asked about "handling presidential transition")

Since some might ask, and since I have received a decent amount of press for criticizing some of Obama's picks, I should state my current stance. Right now, I lean toward "somewhat disapprove," on the cabinet question mainly because of Gates (although over 80% of the country approves of Agtes staying on); "somewhat disapprove" on "job as President-elect," mainly because of Lieberman; and "unsure" on "handling of presidential transition," because there have been quite a few non-cabinet picks, and current cabinet possibilities, that I have liked.

While these stances put me in the minority nationwide, especially among Democrats, I'm feeling increasingly comfortable with that. I am an elected official in the Democratic Party, and I have no problem not only identifying large, qualitative differences between the two major parties, but also in backing up my perceived differences with extensive activism. However, I still hold an inherently skeptical stance toward the efficacy of our political and media establishments to improve people's lives at home and abroad. Right now, most people are giving the powers that be the benefit of the doubt, but the truth is I will probably never be in such a mindset when it comes to our leaders. Even though it has new leadership, this is still the same media and political establishment that brought us the environmental, economic and military crises of the last twenty years. As such, my approval will come when positive movement in the other direction actually occurs, not beforehand when such positive movement is merely promised.

I am proud to be a skeptic. I was in the 10% that disapproved by Bush even after 9/11. For almost my entire adult life, I have been in an even smaller minority when it comes to not believing in divine power. For me, belief comes from proof, not from faith. As such, it will always be difficult for me to offer my approval in the formative phases of anything.

Chris Bowers :: Obama Approval Polls

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Is Obama doing a "Nixon to China" thing with his cabinet? (0.00 / 0)
At first glance I am not thrilled with some of Obama's cabinet selections.   Gates is at the top of my concern list and Clinton is also on the list.  

Maybe I'm abnormally optimistic or naive but I wonder if Obama is picking people who will be effective in delivering the Obama agenda BECAUSE they have been historically opposed to it.    

Then you're going to miss the boat a lot. (4.00 / 1)
You don't get any wins if all you bet on is done deals. I think it's extremely important what a national leader says even before s/he does it. For one thing, it signals what s/he can be held accountable for as time goes on. More important, it begins to define the environment in which the leader's priorities can survive the political hammermill.

At this point I'd say "approve", not "somewhat" and not "strongly". If things don't turn out well I'll have no problem changing my mind.

Chris I give you 100% approval ratings. (0.00 / 0)

We won the Battle. Now the Real Fight for Change Begins. Join MoveOn.org and fight for progressive change.  

OT -- MoveOn (4.00 / 1)
It would be interesting if you did a diary about why you think MoveOn is the vehicle of choice "to fight for progressive change."

[ Parent ]
I think on the whole (4.00 / 3)
Obama has handled the discussion around the economy pretty well.  I would certainly put myself in the "approve camp".  As a a Keynesian, I like the fact that he is concerned with the stimulus package being big enough, which I think is exactly the question to be worried about.

I worry about Iraq, and whether we are going to get out soon enough.  Certainly his foriegn policy team leans right.  I also worry that he doesn't fully understand globalization and the challenges it creates for workers - but I felt that way during the primaries.  

My expectations for Obama were the following:
*Get out Iraq, don't invade Iran
*Restore the Rule of Law, make liberal Supreme Court Appointments
*Get close to Universal Health Care
*Reverse the Bush tax cuts

Of the four listed above, the only one that I have concerns about right now is Iraq.  I really never expected much beyond the list above.  

We should all be skeptical and (4.00 / 3)
demand proof.  

Excellent, Chris.

Maybe (4.00 / 1)
you should conduct a poll here and see which front page diarist gets the highest approval ratings.  

Yes (4.00 / 1)
You should be proud to be a skeptic. One thing to be suspicous of is an "approval rating" poll. It's simply a measure of popularity. Right now, Obama is popular. Ask most Americans to name his Cabinet choices -- and you know what the answer will look like.  

what constitutes a "successful" transition? (0.00 / 0)
I "approve" of how he's "handling the transition" and handling his "job as president-elect" because he hasn't made any clear blunders and still has the trust of the electorate (and through his steady and reassuring personal style might actually be expanding it). That's the main job of Obama's transition in my view, staying strong, popular, and retaining his political capital until he's in the White House and can actually implement policy. I "disapprove" of his cabinet picks, mainly Gates and the economic team.

As for disagreement within the party, I agree that being a dissident Democrat and a skeptic is a comfortable place to be.

FWIW I'm also feeling uneasy about his picks and actions since winning (0.00 / 0)
I get the "He has to govern from and pass through the center before getting to the left" thing, and have even pushed it here and elsewhere. But part of me can't help but wonder whether that explains his picks and moves, or whether this IS Obama, someone who has his left side, but also his right side, and is increasingly more at ease with his right side, now that he's part of the establishment and has real power.

I fear that this isn't a necessary evil, but how he actually intends to govern, from the center-right, because it's where he'll find it easiest to govern, at least from the point of view of the political and media establishment--his true base now. The left helped get him elected, but the center-right will help him govern--if he obliges it.

And I suspect that he will. He is simply not a conviction politician. He is not an idealist or idealogue. He is, in the current lexicon, a "pragmatist". And what could be more pragmatic than to govern via the path of least political resistance? Or, perhaps, he sees himself as an "adult", who has no intention of catering to the "whims" of either the right or left. It's not as if he didn't constantly say this while campaigning. We're too "partisan". He's a grown-up.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to guess how he'll govern.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton

Obama Transition (0.00 / 0)
For strategic reasons, I'm okay with Gates. It provides Obama with a consistent policy abroad for the near future when he will rightly have his attention focused at home. There can be no meaningful movement in Iraq for well over a year. Any troops returning from Iraq won't begin for over 6 months. Then they will train up and resupply--again, well over a year--before they are considered for redeployment to Afghanistan.
Gates provides nicely for the requirements Obama has currently. It has added advantage of showing bi-partisonship, whether another republican gets the gig, only time will tell.
Dashle will be excellent at HHS.
Economic issues aren't really my thing, so I'm willing to wait and see about those guys.
Clinton at state definitely has it's advantages, both politically and internationally--Keeping Bill busy fer four years was gonna be a challenge anyway, what better incentive for him to behave than the wrath of Hillary et. al
I'm very pleased with the national security team--I expect big things from them in yr. 3 or 4 and beyond.


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