A Rebound for Obama?
By Ben Pershing
Is President Obama on the rebound? Events from the last 24 hours provide a mixed answer to that question, suggesting the White House may have reason for optimism on the domestic front even as trouble brews abroad.
First, the Senate Finance Committee began its markup of health-care reform legislation, a concrete step toward passage of Obama's signature priority. Second, the new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll suggests the president's ratings on the issue are improving -- approval of Obama's handling of health care ticked up four points since August, from 41 percent to 45 percent, while the percentage who think Obama's plan is a good idea is up three points. (If no bill passes, 37 percent of respondents said they'd blame the GOP, while only 10 percent would blame Obama). "On the economy, Americans aren't euphoric, but the mood is clearly improving," the Journal writes, as the percentage of respondents who are "satisfied" with the state of the economy went up 10 points. At the same time, the survey provides a warning sign about a crucial voting bloc: For the first time in this poll, a plurality of independents (46 percent) disapprove of the job Obama is doing. (A new American Research Group survey pegged disapproval among independents even higher, at 57 percent.)
More worryingly for the White House, pessimism about the war in Afghanistan continues to increase. The poll found only 28 percent of respondents said they were "more confident" of a "successful conclusion" to the conflict, and 59 percent were "less confident." While 51 percent opposed sending more troops into battle, 55 percent opposed "an immediate and orderly withdrawal" from the battlefield. "Strikingly, the poll shows that there's a generational split over whether to send more U.S. troops into Afghanistan," notes NBC's Mark Murray, pointing out that a majority of those over 50 supported expanding the war while younger respondents opposed it.
Posted at 8:25 AM ET on Sep 23, 2009
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