A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll has found that 63% of Americans support the American Jobs Act, and 64% of those surveyed agreed that it is a good idea to raise taxes on the wealthy.
When the poll asked if the American Jobs Act should be passed, 30% of respondents said yes, 22% said no, and 44% had no opinion. Overall, the legislation is very popular with the American people. By nearly a 2 to 1 margin (63%-32%), those polled supported the bill when the details of legislation were included in the question. The poll also found that almost 2/3 of Americans (64%) think that it is a good idea to raise taxes on the wealthy. Only 31% of respondents think that increasing taxes on the wealthy and corporations is a bad idea.
The results of this poll are good news for Obama and even better news for his reelection campaign. There is no doubt that the president wanted his jobs bill passed, but politically speaking arguing in favor of creating jobs is a winning issue for him. Obama has a powerful one-two punch of the jobs issue and the tax the rich issue working in his favor.
The president will continue to politically benefit as long as Republicans continue to not even discuss creating jobs, and refuse to raise taxes on the wealthy. I wouldn’t read too much into the fact that 44% of Americans had no opinion on whether or not the bill should be passed. Thus far, the 2012 GOP nomination fight has been more of a freak show than must see television. Unlike 2008 when the compelling Obama/Clinton showdown gripped the nation, most people probably won’t tune in to the 2012 campaign until after Labor Day 2012.
Republicans are so busy courting their ideological base that they don’t seem to realize that they are doing Obama a huge political favor. If the American Jobs Act would have moved forward and eventually passed, the discussion would have been about the effectiveness of Obama’s jobs bill. The 2012 election might have been a referendum on the American Jobs Act.
Instead, Republicans have opened the door for Obama to campaign on the question of who wants to and can create jobs. Since none of the Republican presidential candidates have an actual jobs plan, Obama can campaign against both congressional Republicans and the 2012 GOP nominee at the same time.
Obama’s message that the wealthy and corporations need to pay their fair share, and that we need to create jobs is resonating well with the country.
The path to a second Obama term is clear. The president must defy conventional wisdom and campaign on the economy. He has to define himself as the only candidate who is willing to create jobs, protect entitlements, and make the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share. Obama remains personally popular. The American people support his positions on jobs and taxes.
Obama must drive the message home, and convince voters to toss the obstructionist Republicans out of office, and give him a Congress that is ready to put the American people back to work.
If he does these things, Barack Obama will defy the odds and be returned to the White House for a second term.