For the first time in years, more Americans than not say the country is headed in the right direction, a sign that Barack Obama has used the first 100 days of his presidency to lift the public’s mood and inspire hopes for a brighter future.
the percentage of Americans saying the country is headed in the right direction rose to 48 percent, up from 40 percent in February. Forty-four percent say the nation is on the wrong track.
Not since January 2004, shortly after the capture of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, has an AP survey found more “right direction” than “wrong direction” respondents.
So far, Obama has defied the odds by producing a sustained trend toward optimism. It began with his election.
The AP-GfK poll suggests that 64 percent of the public approves of Obama’s job performance, down just slightly from 67 percent in February. President George W. Bush’s approval ratings hovered in the high 50s after his first 100 days in office.
But Obama also has become a somewhat polarizing figure, with just 24 percent of Republicans approving of his performance — down from 33 percent in February. Obama campaigned on a promise — just as Bush had — to end the party-first mind-set that breeds gridlock in Washington.
As usual, party identification of those surveyed were weighted heavily Democrat over Republican:
Keep this in mind when one further reads survey results from questions like: “CUR31/31a. Overall, please tell me whether you approve, disapprove, or neither approve nor
disapprove of the way the Democrats in Congress are handling the economy?”, where the results show 50% approve and 45% disapprove.
And when the AP headline suggests that the country is “High on Obama, and the direction of the US”, please note that the 29% who say Obama understands extremely well the issues the country faces, that’s down from the 33% who said so in the previous poll (1/09/09-1/14/09, pre-inaugural); with those who think he doesn’t understand well jumping up from 12% to 21%.
Other survey questions see similar downward trends for Obama, based upon comparisons from previous surveys:
Then of course, I have problems with the premise of their survey questions like
IRXb. [IF DK OR REFUSED IN IRX, ASK:] If you had to choose, do you lean more toward
approving or disapproving of Barack Obama’s decision to end the combat role of U.S.
troops and remove most but not all U.S. troops from Iraq by August 31, 2010?
A former fetus, the “wordsmith from nantucket” was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1968. Adopted at birth, wordsmith grew up a military brat. He achieved his B.A. in English from the University of California, Los Angeles (graduating in the top 97% of his class), where he also competed rings for the UCLA mens gymnastics team. The events of 9/11 woke him from his political slumber and malaise. Currently a personal trainer and gymnastics coach.
The wordsmith has never been to Nantucket.