A new Zogby Interactive poll has two bits of good news for President-Elect Barack Obama:
#1 He has increased his favorable rating since he has been elected.
#2 He faces modest expectations despite jokes and some pundit’s contention that he is perceived as a kind of Superman.
President-elect Barack Obama enjoys a favorable rating from 60% of likely voters, as well as modest expectations for how quickly the economy will improve under his Administration, a new Zogby Interactive poll shows.
“Obama was elected with 53% of the vote and in a few weeks he’s raised that to 58%. That’s a positive sign,” said Pollster John Zogby, President and CEO of Zogby International. “And to see that positive sign as the crises actually worsen before he’s even president means that he’s swimming upstream. And thus far he’s swimming upstream pretty successfully.”
The Zogby Interactive survey of 3,498 likely voters was conducted Jan. 6-8, 2009 and carries a margin of error of +/- 1.6%.
*Voters aren’t expecting Obama to wave a magic wand and end the recession:
Voters are split on whether Obama will be able to move the U.S. out of recession, with 35% saying yes, 31% no and 34% not sure.
Looking at their expectations for Obama’s first year as President, 50% expect the economy will continue to decline, but at a slower rate. Twenty-seven percent say the economy will stay the same, and only 12% expect the economy to grow. Eleven percent said they are not sure.
As for their own economic expectations in the next year, 20% expect to be worse off, 49% expect it to be unchanged and 24% anticipate improvement. Seven percent are not sure.
*Independent voters and investors like Obama:
Two groups whose opinions may hold particular importance for Obama are independent voters, who are the best gauge of his political standing, and investors, whose confidence is likely to play a big role in the economy. According to our survey, Obama is seen favorably by both groups.
Among independents, more than 50% express positive opinions in their ratings and confidence in Obama, his transition and every issue we asked about, with the exception of taxes. Regarding taxes, only 47% are very or somewhat confident in Obama’s ability to handle tax issues.
Our poll asked likely voters to identify whether they consider themselves a member of the investor class. Those voters account for 39% of our sample. Among investors, positive opinions about Obama and his transition are both 54%, slightly lower than for non-investors. Less than half express confidence in Obama’s ability to handle taxes (41%), health care (47%) and foreign affairs (49%).
The bottom line: Obama will go into office with a lot of good will and a cushion of national unity.
Will he build on it or make the mistake of some Presidents and squander it?
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.