Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Obama Daily Polling – 36% Strongly Approve – Despite McCainian Observation of Sound Economy

Obama and McCain - mediacounton2.com

According to the March 16, 2009 Rasmussen, Daily Tracking Poll, President Obama’s Approval Ratings have declined for ten consecutive days – 36% of respondents now strongly approve of his job performance. On February, 17, 91% of Democrats surveyed “somewhat” approved, with 48% of Republican voters strongly disapproving on February 14th. As of the March 16th Poll, the numbers are more clearly split along party lines with 65% of Democrats now strongly approve versus 60% of Republicans who strongly disapprove. The poll is slightly weighed in favor of the President with using a “baseline target of 41.1% Democrats, 33.0% Republicans, and 25.9% unaffiliated.” The sample over a three month period is impressive, 45,000 respondents over a 3 month period.

The approval ratings proffered by all polls combine respondents who either strongly or somewhat approve of a particular candidate, or job performance to give a predictive overall approval rating which is misleading - rather using raw numbers to indicate true approval versus disapproval – showing the balance as “somewhat undecided” – would give a more clear understanding of areas where a particular politician might need to do some work.

The issue of the economy has played a role in the historic dip in polling numbers over the first two months of the Obama administration, prompting the President over the past weekend to declare the “economy fundamentally sound despite the temporary "mess" it's in.” (Newsday) Further, the report from NewsDay notes: “an upbeat assessment of the kind that Barack Obama had mocked as a presidential candidate.” - which is in reference to a quote back in September 2008 made by John McCain, using the same language. At the time, the press eviscerated McCain for making such a “gaffe”. Of interest, however, is that the press is now “connecting the dots”, with a report on March 15th from U.S. News and World Report entitled ”Who Really Won, Obama or McCain”, which offers an opening “President Obama seems to be undergoing a strange metamorphosis. He's slowly turning into John McCain. “

In defense of both McCain and Obama, the economy is fundamentally sound based upon the work ethic of the American population, coupled with natural resources and entrepreneurial spirit. However, the heavy handed approach to big government versus free markets proffered in the first 2 months of the Obama administration has Wall Street, and investors small and large, skittish. The term ”Cautiously Optimistic” hardly signals confidence. American’s in general, are concerned about job retention and inflation. with unemployment numbers rivaling those not seen since the Carter administration.

Should the economy robustly rebound (pre-2008 campaign levels), then the President will enjoy a resurgence in popularity (allowing that no other factors are in play), that said, in review of historical trends, Wall Street has a negative reaction with every general election, dependent upon the party that is surging in the polls. It could be argued that the constant hammering of a dismal economic forecast from the Obama campaign, contributed to the lack of confidence on Wall Street, which trickled down to Main Street. It is also a given, that when the economy is troubled, the probability of a Democrat candidate succeeding is likely. It is the notion that Democrats are generally anti-free market, pro big government oversight, and corporate taxation that stifles growth, which drives the market downward. With the added burden of Barney Franks Fannie and Freddie mortgage meltdown, the banking industry also took a turn for the worse, compounding “the mess”.

The market should, undoubtedly, correct eventually, with the right mix of optimism, tax cuts, oversight (yes regulation is required, but to a certain degree), and a lessening of a burden on further taxpayers (future investors) by dropping bad habits still in play in Washington (reference Pork). Unfortunately, the message sent by the President to the Public, when the Omnibus spending bill was signed into law, was not of hope or change, rather irresponsible business as usual. At that time John McCain, reminded the President of his promise to go line by line and eliminate pork from the budget. This sentiment is echoed on Main Street – through the polls - and it is crossing party lines.

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