washingtonpost.com
Readers Explain Obama's Poll Numbers

By Dan Froomkin
11:43 AM ET, 04/ 8/2009

I wrote yesterday about how President Obama's continued -- and maybe even improving -- support in public-opinion polls is confounding members of Washington's pundit class. And I asked you readers to explain it to them.

"vbdietz" wrote: "The pundits are in an echo chamber of their own making and really do NOT comprehend the minute-to-minute reality of Americans scrambling to make mortgage payments, feed their kids and stay employed, or find a new job, if they're so unfortunate as to be unemployed. Those people aren't interested in what the talking heads have to say. They're interested in what actions are being taken to stabilize the economy, improve America's standing and address basic needs for shelter, health care and education.

"Obama is doing what he said he would do. He has my support. Do I have concerns about some specific actions and their outcomes? Certainly but on the whole, given the scope of issues and challenges facing this new administration and the lack of cooperation from Republicans who are more interested in tit-for-tat politics than in what's best for our country, I am well-satisfied with Obama and his administration's efforts thus far."

"GavinM" wrote: "A 66% approval rating in a depression while his country is involved in two seemingly intractable wars isn't just high, it's incredibly high.

"And the reasons for it are pretty simple.

"He's out there visibly trying to fix the problems that have weighed down the United States for the past 8 years- and perhaps most importantly, he's explaining what he's doing in complete sentences treating his audience as if they were adults."

"ath28" wrote: "The 'public' is comprised of individual people. We individually tune in to hyperventilating media outlets for a while and get caught up in the drama of the day, but then our lives pull us out again, and we have a spell - blissfully unaware of the manufactured crises. At any given moment, only a small percentage of us are in the grips of the media cycle.

"On the other hand, the people who work in the media live and breathe it constantly. For these people the world becomes an endless string of dramatic events. There should be no surprise, then, that the media has a different perspective than the broader public."

"loved1" wrote: "As the President has said, good policy makes good politics. Even though everything is not right, people feel comforted in knowing that a worthy leader is at the helm and it's wonderful to see a statesman on the world stage to represent the country."

"dougom" wrote: "I think the same things that are pleasing the country are POing the pundits. Obama is keeping his campaign promises--Pundits: 'How naive can you get?'; Public: 'Finally, a politician doing what he promised!' Obama is trying to deal with a huge mess that was handed to him--Pundits: 'He's doing too much!'; Public: 'Thank God somebody's trying to take care of business!' Obama is trying to be both honest about the difficulties we're facing, but still optimistic--Pundits: 'He's being naive (or too depressing)'; Public: 'Finally, something that sounds like a reasonable approximation of the truth.' Etc. I could go on forever, honestly.

"The short form is: the inside-the-beltway crowd concentrates too much on the 'game' of politics. Most people don't give a rip; they care about *their own lives*. And therein lies the disconnect."

© 2009 The Washington Post Company