David Kirkpatrick

April 6, 2009

Obama’s approval split

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:20 pm

Split on party lines to a historic degree. This is a direct result of the Limbaughian efforts to demonize the president, but it’s more damningly evidence the GOP is totally bereft of ideas at the moment.

From the link:

For all of his hopes about bipartisanship, Barack Obama has the most polarized early job approval ratings of any president in the past four decades. The 61-point partisan gap in opinions about Obama’s job performance is the result of a combination of high Democratic ratings for the president — 88% job approval among Democrats — and relatively low approval ratings among Republicans (27%).

obama-approval-jpeg1

This polarization is partly a function of how U.S. politics has been played for a while (and I think it’s fair to place some blame on the internet and partisan political forums fostering an us-against-them mentality), but it’s also clearly the direct result of a deliberate Republican strategy.

Very dangerous territory for the GOP. The hope is if Obama’s effort to solve the financial crisis fails, or when aspects of the meltdown don’t respond the way the general public is hoping for, Obama gets the blame and a chastened public turns to the GOP for solutions.

This cunning plan has a lot of holes. One, the public is giving Obama a lot of latitude in dealing with the economy and currently blames the previous GOP administration for the bulk of the problem. Two, the GOP is totally bereft of ideas (see this post for a great example) and even if the public turns on Obama, the Democrats have plenty of ammunition to say, “At least we’re trying. Do you really trust the Republicans, the party who opposed Obama from day one?”

I think the GOP is very likely facing a much heavier backlash than expected for immediately turning on Obama. The public rallied around Bush after 9/11, and I think the public understands this deep economic slowdown requires the same level support to ensure the nation doesn’t fail. When Limbaugh, as the de facto voice of the GOP, says he hopes Obama fails, most people hear the GOP wants America to fail. Don’t think these sounds bites are going away. They may fade from memory, but you’ll be seeing a lot of Rush in 2010 and 2012.

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