By Dan Froomkin
12:20 PM ET, 02/11/2009
The Pew Research Center reports: "After weeks of intense debate over President Obama’s economic stimulus plan, a narrow majority of Americans (51%) who have heard about the $800 billion plan say it is a good idea, while 34% say it is a bad idea. In January, the balance of opinion regarding the plan was more positive: 57% of those who had heard about the proposal viewed it positively, compared with just 22% who viewed it negatively.
"Reaction to the proposal has become much more politicized since January...
"The survey finds that, after nearly a month in office, Obama’s personal image is extremely strong. Overwhelming majorities view Obama as a strong leader (77%) and trustworthy (76%), while an even higher percentage (92%) says he is a good communicator. Moreover, the belief that Obama represents a break from politics as usual is widespread, despite the highly partisan reaction to his economic stimulus proposal. About two-thirds of Americans (66%) – including a narrow majority of Republicans – say that Obama 'has a new approach to politics in Washington'; that compares with 25% who say his approach is 'business as usual.'
"Obama’s 64% job approval rating is higher than the initial marks for his two most recent predecessors, George W. Bush (53%) and Bill Clinton (56%)."