Dick Cheney’s Poll Numbers Are Going Up

ArrowUp.jpgFormer Vice President Dick Cheney may still not be Mr. Popularity when it comes to national poll numbers, but he has some good news today: on a day when the media will cover a speech on national security by President Barack Obama and then a speech by Cheney on the same subject, his poll numbers are going up:

As Dick Cheney prepares to give a major speech on the battle against terrorism, a new national poll suggests that favorable opinions of the former vice president are on the rise.

But the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey, released Thursday morning, indicates that a majority of Americans still have an unfavorable opinion of Cheney.

Fifty-five percent of people questioned in the poll say they have an unfavorable opinion of the former vice president. Thirty-seven percent say they have a favorable opinion of Cheney, up 8 percentage points from January when he left office.

In the past two months, the former vice president has become a frequent critic of the new administration in numerous national media interviews.

In the short term, at least, Cheney — helped by several other GOPers — seems to be making some headway — enough to impress some high powered pundits.

For instance, Newsweek’s Howard Fineman concludes: forget the RNC and watch the party’s real “muscle,” Cheney, Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich, since they’re the ones making headway against Obama — who now is facing problems on the right, left and from his toe-stumbling Democratic allies in Congress and finding he can’t control the news cycle or debate the way he did for the first part of his young administration:

Right now there are two RNCs here in Washington, side by side. The contrast is instructive. One, the Republican National Committee, is a clueless self-parody. The other, the (R)ush-(N)ewt-(C)heney tag team, is providing the real muscle as the Republican right begins to build traction in taking on President Obama and the Democrats.

…Barack Obama launched himself to power by promising to rethink—and vastly change—America’s approach to the war. But in the last several weeks, facing the grim realities of his role as commander in chief, he has been forced to backtrack, seeking a political middle course on defense and national-security policy….While those retreats have torn a few important pages from Obama’s earlier promises, the contributions from his Democratic allies on the Hill better resemble the work of a paper shredder.

…But even as Obama is speaking, who will be clearing his throat at a podium across town? Why, Dick Cheney, of course. The former vice president hasn’t singlehandedly created this situation, but he has adroitly capitalized on it. By relentlessly defending his record and promoting his views—keep Guantánamo open, use waterboarding, use all possible surveillance techniques—Cheney the Grim has helped create the fog of controversy now surrounding the White House. That is what an opposition party does. Chairman Steele and the real RNC should take a look.

The main problem for the GOP: they’re losing younger voters. The inroads the party may now be making via Limbaugh, Cheney and Newt blasting Obama likely shows the GOP regaining some partisans who defected to Obama and become independent voters. It still doesn’t solve the long — or short term — problem of the GOP’s downsized status, and likelihood that as younger voters become older and dominant, data shows they are not inclined to be as sympathetic to the GOP as many of their elders were.

Another problem for the GOP: a new CNN poll finds that Americans feel the U.S. is now headed in the right direction:

As the Republican Party condemns what they call the Democrats’ ‘march to socialism’, a new national poll indicates that most Americans believe President Barack Obama’s policies would move the country in the right direction.

Sixty-three percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday say they think the policies being proposed by the President would push the nation in the right direction, with 35 percent saying those policies would send the country in the wrong direction.

But the poll suggests that Americans don’t feel the same way about the Republicans. Thirty-nine percent of those questioned say that the policies of GOP Congressional leaders would move the country in the right direction, with a slight majority, 53 percent, saying Republican proposals would move the nation in the wrong direction.

“The poll indicates that some of Obama’s popularity is rubbing off on congressional Democrats,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Even though Nancy Pelosi has a low approval rating and Harry Reid is facing some low numbers in polls taken in his home state, 57 percent think that the policies of the Democratic leaders in Congress would move the country in the right direction. That’s not good news for the GOP.”

Four months into Obama’s presidency, the country remains in a recession, but the poll indicates that Americans aren’t blaming the new president or his party for the country’s economic problems so far. Fifty-three percent of those surveyed say the Republicans are to blame, with only one in five saying the Democrats are more responsible for the country’s economic conditions.

More blog reaction is HERE.