Is 'Smooth Sailing' Over for Obama?
By Ben Pershing
President Obama's No. 1 priority for his first term, health care reform, has gotten off to a halting start in the Senate. His next major goal, climate change legislation, is even further from completion. And there's little indication that the major financial regulatory overhaul the president unveiled yesterday is anywhere near reaching his desk. With those initiatives and others pending, is Obama's window for major legislative action beginning to close?
That's the question raised by a pair of new surveys, both of which show overall support for Obama's policies slippling. The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found small but measurable drops in Obama's approval rating and his handling of the economy. "These rising doubts threaten to overshadow the president's personal popularity and his agenda, in what may be a new phase of the Obama presidency," the Journal suggests in its dramatic write-up of the poll, while MSNBC quotes pollster Peter Hart saying: "There is no more smooth sailing for the administration. They are going to have to navigate in pretty choppy waters."
The New York Times/CBS News poll reached similar conclusions, finding that the public is increasingly concerned about the budget deficit and that fewer than half of respondents approve of Obama's handling of health care and the auto industry. So is Obama's presidency really slipping away? The situation doesn't appear quite that dire. The NYT/CBS poll still puts Obama's approval rating at 63 percent, and his overall poll average has barely budged in two months. Also on the bright side for the White House: The WSJ/NBC survey found just "25 percent hold a favorable view of the Republican Party, which is an all-time low for it in the poll." So even if the public is wary of Obama's policies, it isn't exactly rushing out to embrace the opposition.
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Posted at 8:31 AM ET on Jun 18, 2009
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