April 27, 2009
4/27: Obama’s Policy — Voters Weigh In
If President Barack Obama’s 100th day benchmark were the end of a school semester, Mr. Obama would receive high grades from a majority — 58% — of voters nationwide. In a poll conducted in 2001, President Bush received a similar report card from the electorate.
When evaluating Barack Obama’s term in office so far, 23% of voters say they would give the president an “A,” and 35% think he has earned a “B.” Just 11% of the electorate say he deserves a failing grade. Partisanship plays a role in voters’ views. 86% of Democrats would give the president either a grade of “A” or “B” while just 22% of Republicans would do the same. Instead, 44% of Republicans give the president a grade of “D” or “F.”
55% Approve of Handling of Economic Crisis
But, how does the president fare on specific policy issues? The nation’s economic crisis has dominated news headlines, and 55% of the electorate report they approve of how President Obama is dealing with it. 41%, however, disapprove. Many voters, though, do not think he is the one to blame for the nation’s current financial situation. 80% of the electorate believe Mr. Obama inherited today’s economic conditions compared with 14% who say the blame rests squarely on the shoulders of the Obama Administration including 73% of Republicans. Voters’ opinions on this topic closely reflect those measured in The Marist Poll’s April 8th survey.
Unemployment and the housing crisis have been major concerns for the country. So, are voters satisfied with the way the president is addressing these issues? A majority of registered voters — 55% — say they approve of the way in which Mr. Obama is handling the problem of unemployment compared with more than one-third — 35% — who disapprove. Looking at the mortgage crisis and home foreclosures, voters are more closely divided. Nearly half — 49% — approve of how the president is dealing with the issue compared with 43% who disapprove.
More Than Six in Ten Approve of Policies in Iraq and Afghanistan
On specific foreign policy issues, President Obama receives strong support. 63% of voters approve of the way the president is handling the war in Afghanistan compared with 25% who say they disapprove. The proportion of those who agree with Mr. Obama on this issue has increased since The Marist Poll’s April 8th survey. Regarding the war in Iraq, 66% of voters approve of how the president is dealing with the situation.
56% of voters think President Obama is handling homeland security and anti-terrorism well.
Lately, there has been a new foreign policy issue on the president’s plate — piracy. How do voters think President Obama is dealing with military action against piracy? On this international concern partisan politics stop at the water’s edge. The president receives all-around high marks. More than seven in ten approve of his actions including 61% of Republicans.
Getting Down to the Nitty-Gritty: Voters Opinions Toward Specific Policy Actions
During his first 100 days in office, President Obama has taken on many hot button issues. Did voters agree with his actions? More than three-quarters — 76% — say the president hit the mark in ordering the Environmental Protection Agency to institute higher fuel efficiency standards including six in ten Republicans. On another hotly contested issue, stem cell research, 67% approve of the president’s move to provide federal funding toward its advancement.
Looking at the passage of the economic stimulus package, nearly six in ten voters — 59% — see it as a victory bolstered by 85% of Democrats who characterize it this way. In contrast, 67% of Republicans disapprove. A majority of voters — 57% — approve of President Obama’s firing of General Motors’ CEO Rick Wagoner.
What about the approval of the bill making it easier for workers to sue for pay discrimination? 55% of registered voters say the president took the right action compared with 34% who disapprove of the measure.
Many voters — 63% — approve of President Obama’s decision to send more troops to Afghanistan including many Democrats and Independents, and most Republicans. One policy initiative that does not receive majority support from voters is the closing of Guantanamo Bay prison. The electorate divides. 48% approve of President Obama’s order to do so, and 46% disapprove.
Table: Higher Fuel Efficiency Standards
Table: Stem Cell Research
Table: Passage of Stimulus Package
Table: Firing of the CEO of General Motors
Table: Pay Discrimination
Table: Closing of Guantanamo Bay Prison
Table: Additional Troops to Afghanistan
Comparison Table of Other National Polls
Playing Nice and Pulling the Strings
Although a majority of registered voters nationwide think President Obama is trying to compromise with Republican leaders in Congress on important issues, 35% don’t think he is reaching across the aisle. Not surprisingly, a majority of Republicans believe Mr. Obama is playing too much party politics. And, how much control over Mr. Obama does the Democratic leadership in Congress have? According to two-thirds of registered voters, a lot! 67% report Congressional Democrats have a great deal or a good amount of control over the president. Although it’s not a shock that more than three-quarters of Republicans feel this way, what may be surprising is that a majority — 63% — of Democrats agree.
A Fork in the Road?
And, when looking at the overall direction of the country, voters evenly divide. 44% think things are headed in the right direction, and the same proportion reports the country is moving down the wrong path.