Poll: Americans overwhemingly like Obama, but most view Republicans in Congress unfavorably
Two major public-opinion polls released this week have lots of good news for President Obama and lots of bad news for the Republican Party.
The first of these is the CNN/ORC survey, which includes THESE RESULTS:
The new numbers indicate that Obama remains popular, with 79% of Americans saying the president is likable…
“This underscores just how important the president’s personal characteristics have been to him, and how useful it is to the White House that IRS, Benghazi, and AP controversies have not dimmed Obama’s personal popularity so far,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
The president’s handling of these matters so far may have helped boost his standing with the public on a couple of other key measures.
Is the president a strong leader?
Fifty-eight percent say yes.
“The last time the president reached that level was just after the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011,” adds Holland. “That finding suggests that the public is responding favorably to Obama’s stern reaction in recent days and hints that, far from catching blame for the latest controversies, Obama may actually be benefiting from them in some ways.”
The poll also indicates that 52% say the president can manage the government effectively. That’s up 10 percentage points since the last time CNN asked the question, in 2011.
Is the president honest and trustworthy?
Fifty-eight percent say yes.
The tea party’s overall favorable rating is up nine points, to 37%, since March. But a 45% plurality continue to hold an unfavorable view of the tea party movement.
But views of the GOP have moved in the opposite direction. Fifty-nine percent of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of the Republican Party, tying the all-time record for negative views of the GOP. That’s a five-point increase since March, and raises the possibility that the public approves of the GOP’s actions on IRS and Benghazi but might be put off by the way the party has been making its point. Favorable ratings for the Democratic Party are up six points in that same time.
And then there’s the new Washington Post/ABC News poll, the results of which include THESE:
A bare majority of Americans say they believe that Obama is focused on issues that are important to them personally; just 33 percent think so of congressional Republicans. Brighter assessments of the economy may be one reason that the president has been able to weather controversies. For the first time since the 100-day mark of Obama’s first term, most say they are optimistic about the direction of the economy. More than half, 56 percent, say the economy is on the mend, the most to say so in polls since 2009.
After two months of clearly negative ratings over his handling of the economy, Obama has climbed back to about even, with as many now approving as disapproving of his performance on this front. The president also holds a nine-percentage-point advantage over congressional Republicans on the issue.
The IRS scandal has brought the tea party back into the spotlight, but it has done little to change the public’s impressions of the political movement. In the poll, 40 percent of all Americans say they support the tea party movement and 43 percent oppose it, numbers stable back to last year. A record high of 17 percent express no opinion on the question. About 73 percent of conservative Republicans say they support the movement, but that’s the lowest percentage to say so in polls going back more than two years.
Republicans looking into the Benghazi episode have focused on the role played by former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton, who left office with sky-high ratings. In the poll, 62 percent of all respondents say they approve of the way she handled her job as secretary of state; just 28 percent disapprove. Clinton’s approval rating has dipped six points since December, but it remains in clearly positive territory. Those who see coverup in the administration’s handling of the Benghazi controversy split down the middle in rating Clinton’s performance at the State Department.
The Justice Department’s leak investigation and the secret collection of AP telephone records put renewed focus on the balance between national security and government intrusion on press freedoms.
Overall, a big majority of Americans, 69 percent, say they are at least somewhat concerned that the government — in trying to protect classified information — will improperly intrude on freedom of the press. Still, a slim majority, 52 percent, says it sees the Justice Department’s seizure of the AP records as justified.