President George W. Bush wound up being a President of the Republican party base and — some felt — of the base and for the base.
According to a new CNN poll, President Barack Obama is evolving into a President of more than just the Democratic party’s base, but with increasingly little GOP support — bolstered by a majority coalition which includes a relatively unified Democratic party and more independent voters for him than against him.
It suggests that (1) Obama should count on not getting GOP support for many of his measures, (2) the Republican party continues to be in danger of being increasingly marginalized as a kind of early 21st century “niche” party, unless it starts to move beyond what beyond a confrontational sound bite political culture best typified by political talk radio (which now seems wedded to GOP party elites more than it did 8 years ago). Meanwhile, Obama is starting to see his independent voter support sagas well.
A national poll indicates that two out of three Americans approve of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president of the United States.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey, released Friday, also suggests that six in 10 support the economic stimulus package that Obama signed into law Tuesday.
Obama’s approval rating stands at 67 percent in the new poll. That’s down 9 percentage points from the most recent CNN poll, which was conducted in early February. But a breakdown by party suggests that the drop doesn’t mean that the new president is in serious trouble.
“Since nearly all of the decline came among Republicans, this doesn’t indicate that the honeymoon is already over,” said Keating Holland, CNN’s polling director. “Among Democrats, Obama’s approval went from 96 percent to 92 percent; among Republicans, it dropped from 50 percent in early February to 31 percent now.”
Among independents, the president’s approval rating now stands at 61 percent, down 6 percentage points from earlier in the month.
Sixty percent of those questioned in the poll favored the economic stimulus plan, with 39 percent opposing the package. The $787 billion law is designed to pump up the economy by increasing federal government spending, sending aid to states in fiscal trouble and by cutting taxes.
If the GOP doesn’t broaden its base with presenting affirmative ideas and programs it could maintain it’s minority and “insurgent” status for a while. And Obama will need to keep strong support among independents and work to regain some GOP support or else he won’t have a political “safety net” as his popularity suffers greater blows — which invariably happens to all Presidents once they are past the honeymoon period. If neither of these things happen, the danger is that the country will remain mired in partisan polarization wars stemming from the baby boomer us-versus-them battles rooted in the turbulent 60s.