According to a soon to be released Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll most Americans aren’t disappointed with Barack Obama and his presidency. Fifty eight percent of those who were surveyed said that Obama has met their expectations since he took office, 29% said he has done worse than they expected and 12% said that he has done better than expected.
The results for this one question appeared on the WSJ Washington Wire blog ahead of the release of the full poll results later this evening. In the face of constant Republican obstruction, and a media environment that could charitably be described as difficult, the White House has got to be very pleased with these numbers on multiple levels, especially when compared to the results when the same question about expectations was asked about Congress.
Thirty two percent of respondents graded this year’s congressional session as one of the worst that they have ever seen, and 28% said it was, “below average.” Thirty one percent rated Congressional performance as average, 5% said above average, and 1% said it was, “one of the best.” What does all of this mean? In my opinion it means that the Republican strategy of obstruction in order to turn Obama into a do nothing president is failing. The Republican strategy of obstruction was not only designed for 2010, but also for 2012. The strategy has failed on every level. Obama has been able to pass whatever he wanted, while the GOP has been turned into a one note party of no.
This result also shows that the American people are directing their anger, not at Obama, but at Congress. This is bad news for incumbents in both parties, as it appears that not only have they failed to live up to the normally low expectations of the American people, but that they have been deemed the same or worse than usual. The narrative coming out of the Left about Obama being a disappointment is not reflected in these poll numbers. All told 70% of respondents feel that the president has done better than or as expected. By the way, the 29% who believe that he has done worse matches up with the usual 29%-33% of hard core Republicans in any poll. For example, Sarah Palin also has a 29% approval rating. The 29% or so in any poll are the hard core Obama haters.
Even with a bad economy, an opposition party determined to obstruct, and media coverage that has taken a more negative tone, Obama remains trusted. This is dreadful news for Republicans who were hoping to defeat the president in 2012, and it should give Democrats a moment of pause before they decide that they don’t want Obama involved in the midterm elections.
One of the most important criteria that many voters use to evaluate an incumbent president when they are running for a second term is whether or not they kept their promises and lived up to expectations. Thus far, Obama has been strong in both areas. He has come into office and for the most part done what he said that he was going to do. If Obama continues to meet or exceed expectations, along with his long record of legislative achievements, and his ability to raise more money than anyone else, he will be nearly impossible to defeat in 2012. The race for the 2012 GOP nomination could be reduced to picking the appropriate sacrificial lamb for Obama’s march to a second term.