According to this new poll, Obama has key leverage over the GOP in three areas because the Republican party is so unpopular.
Obama maintains leverage on these issues in part because of the continuing weakness of his opposition. The survey found the favorability ratings of congressional Republicans at their lowest point in polls dating back more than a decade. Obama also has significant advantages over Republican lawmakers in terms of public trust on dealing with the economy, health care, the deficit and the threat of terrorism, all despite broad-based GOP criticism of his early actions on these fronts.
Like the other 2 big polls out this past week (NBC/WSJ & NYT/CBS polls), Obama's weakness is the GM bailout (people have bailout fatigue and want less government meddling in the private sector) and his handling the deficit.
However what works for Obama is how people view Obama in terms of the deficit.
One factor that continues to work for Obama, however, is that most Americans continue to see him as a new type of Democrat, one "who will be careful with the public's money," rather than an old-style, "tax-and-spend Democrat." By this point in 1993, Clinton had already lost the new-style label, which he had maintained over the first months of his presidency.
There are 2 headlines out this week: Iran and health care reform. I don't see this poll addressing the health care reform battle but they asked about Iran (perhaps they will focus on it with tomorrow's headline). Although Obama has been hammered by the GOP on Iran, Obama's approval rating on Iran hasn't changed.
On Iran, Obama has been criticized by some Republicans for the way he has responded to the recent demonstrations there, with his critics saying he has not been vocal enough in promoting democracy and in siding with the demonstrators. In the new survey, 52 percent said they approved of how he has handled the situation. There has been no noticeable change on this question since the last poll in April, before the controversy over the Iranian elections erupted.
The state of the Republican party is once again at the lowest in this poll.
The state of the Republican Party remains grim. Just 22 percent of those surveyed identified themselves as Republicans, near April's decades-long low point. Only 36 percent said they have a favorable impression of the GOP, with 56 percent saying they have an unfavorable impression. (Fifty-three percent said they have a favorable view of the Democratic Party.)
Obama has greater than 20-point leads over congressional Republicans in public trust on dealing with health care, the deficit, terrorism and the economy. The margin on the economy has slipped since April, but still remains a hefty 55 percent to 31 percent over GOP lawmakers.
My recommendations for Obama:
- Take the mantle of health care this week and RUN WITH IT. Nobody trusts Republicans. It's time to do major interviews, townhalls, and crack some heads in the Congress.
- Tell the public that health care reform will not increase the deficit for the Congress will come up with the money to pay for it.
- Tell the public that you will convene a deficit summit after health care reform is passed in which a team will get together on how to decrease the deficit once the economy returns. This will appeal to Independents.
- Get the stimulus money out there.
- Treat your base better and do things that we will cheer about. Address your plans for repealing DADT & DOMA and most of all, pass a damn health care reform bill that Democrats and liberals can be proud of and gives Democrats something to run on in 2010 (stimulus package isn't something to run on since it isn't concrete but good health care reform would be).
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