Wednesday, January 27, 2010

More pre-SOTU polling insights

Some valuable political context for tonight's speech, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal.
According to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, 51% of Americans believe Mr. Obama has paid "too little attention" to the economy. Forty-four percent think he has paid "too much attention" to his proposed overhaul of health care. A plurality continues to think that Mr. Obama's health-care plan is a bad idea.

Wednesday night's address marks a key moment in the White House's efforts to recover from a difficult year and try to strengthen the Democratic Party to minimize election losses in November.

In the speech, Mr. Obama will make a renewed focus on the economy and rising government deficits, with proposals such as a spending freeze in certain areas, designed to underscore the president's pivot to fiscal matters and away from an all-hands focus on transforming health care. The survey shows that the public should welcome the shift, which the White House has put into high gear since the Democrats' loss of a Senate seat in Massachusetts last week.

The number of people who approve of the job Mr. Obama is doing on the economy ticked up to 47%, up five points from the December survey. And only 27% registered voters said their decision on whom to support in the November congressional elections would be "a vote to send a signal of opposition" to the president.

The numbers, while still gloomy for a president who one year ago was beloved by the public, suggest that the president's months-long slide in the polls might have stabilized. Even though his poll ratings have slipped steeply since taking office, the poll suggests he enjoys deeper support in the country than members of Congress from either party.

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