Obama’s voter disconnect

By Greg Sargent Special to,The Washington Post
Posted Sept. 20, 2011, at 4:08 a.m.

Okay, we now have a fourth national poll revealing this striking disconnect: Americans strongly disapprove of President Obama’s handling of the economy and are deeply pessimistic that it will get any better — even as they solidly approve of the actual fiscal policies the president is championing.

The new New York Times poll finds that Obama’s numbers on the economy are awful. Only 34 percent approve of his handling of the economy. Only 40 percent approve of his handling of jobs. Seventy-two percent think the country’s on the wrong track. A plurality thinks we’re heading into another recession.

But the poll also finds that Obama’s new jobs plan and the provisions within it have clear public support:

This same dynamic turned up in the NBC-Wall Street Journal poll, the National Journal poll and the CNN poll this month. Can we call this a pattern yet?

The perverse conclusion from all this: Republicans benefit from blocking policies Americans support. As long as the economy remains abysmal, the public is likely to strongly disapprove of Obama’s performance, even if Republicans are blocking ideas Americans think will reduce unemployment.

Is there a way out of this trap? Perhaps. The disconnect between disapproval of Obama and support for his policies suggests the public is still willing at least to listen to his jobs prescriptions. So there’s still an opportunity for Obama to win this fight, by getting some actual policies passed — or by driving home who’s responsible for government paralysis in the face of the crisis.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/09/20/politics/obamas-voter-disconnect/ printed on September 22, 2014