From the WSJ:
President Barack Obama faces significant doubts from the American public about the war in Afghanistan and his handling of foreign policy more broadly, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. At the same time, the president has shored up eroding support for his top domestic priority, with the survey showing he has arrested the slide in support for his health-care plan following this month's speech to Congress.
Obama's overall job approval is stable at 51 (same as July), economic job approval at 50 (up a point), and foreign policy 50 (down 7 points). There's a slight uptick in questions about the economy, with job creation and economic growth (30), health care (21) and deficit and govt. spending (18) being ranked in importance ahead of Iraq and Afghanistan (11) and natl security/terrorism (11). Back in 2/09, 70% of poll respondents were "very dissatisfied with the economy". That's now down to 41%, though the "somewhat/very dissatisfied with the economy" number together is still 76% (down from 92%).
From First Read:
According to the poll, the president’s health-care numbers have slightly increased, although that increase remains within the margin of error. Thirty-nine percent believe Obama’s health-care plan is a good idea, which is up three points since August. Forty-one percent say it’s a bad idea.
In addition, 45% approve of Obama’s handling of health care, while 46% disapprove, which is up from his 41%-47% score last month. By comparison, just 21% approve of the Republican Party’s handling of the issue.
And who will get blamed if health care doesn't get passed this year? Per the poll, 10% say Obama, 16% say congressional Democrats, and 37% say congressional Republicans.
The poll was conducted Sept. 17-20 and has an overall margin of error of plus-minus 3.1%. The full poll comes out beginning at 6:30 pm ET.
The full poll is here (.pdf). No support for Republicans on health care, as noted above. And no matter how much doubt, when given the bottom line choice:
Do you think it would be better to pass Barack Obama's health care plan and make its changes to the health care system or to not pass this plan and keep the current health care system?
Better to pass this plan, make these changes 45
Better to not pass this plan, keep current system 39
Here's the public option question (clear as mud, because in this split sample response, while it's important to the public to have a choice on a public option, the respondents are divided as to whether to create one. But did people mean for themselves, or for those without insurance?):
Hey, maybe that's because not everyone understands what's going on:
What they do understand is that they want something that requires that health insurance companies cover people with pre-existing medical conditions (63% say "absolutely must be included", another 26% "would prefer" it be included), but people don't want mandates to buy insurance (23% don't want that included, and another 34% say it absolutely must not be in there).
Some important independent numbers are noted in the WSJ:
For the first time, independent voters—who delivered Mr. Obama the White House and Democrats control of the Congress—disapprove of the job he is doing, 46% to the 41% who approve. In July, 49% of independents approved of the president, against 38% who disapproved.
New doubts about the president have coincided with new hopes for Republicans, who appeared flattened by the election nearly a year ago.
As the 2010 election cycle heats up, independent voters now favor Republican control of Congress by four percentage points.
On Afghanistan, Americans have doubts about the war.
As Mr. Obama ramps up his focus on diplomacy this week—at the United Nations General Assembly in New York and then hosting a summit of world leaders in Pittsburgh—the percentage of Americans who approve of the job Mr. Obama is doing on foreign policy has dropped to 50% from 57% in July.
Americans are pessimistic about the prospects of victory in Afghanistan; 59% say they are feeling less confident that the war will come to a successful conclusion. And 51% say they would oppose sending more troops to the conflict.
"No matter what we do, it's not going to be the right thing," said Rick Culotta, a 46-year-old Republican in Metairie, La., who responded to the poll.
Troop build-up is opposed 51-44 (strongly oppose 31), but "immediate and orderly troop withdrawal" is opposed 55-38.
Overall, this matches pollster.com's compilation numbers on job approval:
and suggests that we've reached a stabilization of opposition and support of Obama's health care policies for now, along with job approval. Obama continues with strong personal approval numbers.
The fate of the Congress rests with health reform and until that's settled, the public is likely to take a dim view of Congress, especially on the R side. But that won't stop voters from taking it out on Democrats... the generic D vs R congressional number in this poll is only +3 for Dems. If I were them, I'd take this as a strong signal to produce something on health reform. Failure is not an option.