Don't get sidetracked by sporadic efforts to link Blago with Obama because they both once read the same newspaper. Joining the CNN and LA Times tonight is the NBC/WSJ poll, and Americans have something else on their mind: in recognition of real life problems, the President-elect is getting record support.
Overall, a majority of Americans are confident in Mr. Obama's ability to govern and unify the country, with many who didn't vote for him now seeing him in a positive light. The poll found 73% of American adults approve of the way he is handling the transition and his preparations for becoming president.
Polling indicates that the nation is more unified around Mr. Obama than it was for either Bill Clinton in 1992 or George W. Bush in 2000. Americans say the challenges, too, are greater, with 77% of those surveyed predicting Mr. Obama will face bigger challenges than most recent presidents have.
So far, Americans are buoyed. He's viewed favorably by more Americans than ever. Three of four say he has struck the right balance over how involved he should be in making policy before taking office. And two-thirds of Americans say they are generally pleased with the people he has appointed.
Hopefully, one lesson learned from the last election is the value in using data to inform opinion. And American opinion right now says this:
...the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that a whopping 75 percent of respondents believe that the president-elect has had the right level of involvement in making policy. That's compared with just 12 percent who think that Obama has become too involved, and 11 percent who say -- as [Barney] Frank did -- that he has not been involved enough.
Americans are in this together. From the complete poll (.pdf):
Would you be willing to take a five percent pay cut if it meant saving jobs at your place of work?
Yes, would be willing 64
No, would not be willing 28
Not sure 8
Worst than most = 48? That puts into perspective Bill Schneider's comment from yesterday (referring to the CNN poll):
"An Obama job approval rating of 79 percent -- that's the sort of rating you see when the public rallies around a leader after a national disaster," said Bill Schneider, CNN's senior political analyst. "To many Americans, the Bush administration was a national disaster."