Obama economic plan gets high marks
By a large majority, voters favor President-elect Barack Obama’s wide-ranging policy prescriptions to aid the faltering economy, according to a new Politico/Allstate poll.
The survey of 1,007 registered voters conducted Dec. 27-29 showed that 79 percent of respondents favored Obama’s plan. The president-elect is advocating a $775 billion stimulus that includes a major investment in infrastructure projects and alternative energy as well as middle-class tax cuts, job training and health care reform.
Nearly 90 percent said they are either somewhat or very dissatisfied with the current state of the economy, and more than 60 percent said the country is heading down the wrong track. But while voters are cynical about the present, 56 percent expressed confidence that the economy will improve significantly in the next 12 months.
Political consultant Bill Knapp, who oversaw the poll, said those numbers suggest that voters have high expectations for the incoming administration and patience for things to turn around as long as they believe things are getting done.
“There is patience to exactly when and how, but the thing people will be unforgiving about is if there is a sense that instead of getting things done, we are talking about politics and pork,” Knapp said. “The failure to get something done is a bigger threat than not making progress quickly enough.”
“There is a long leash for turning the economy around, but not for the political system,” he said.
Obama’s favorability ratings remain high, with 63 percent of respondents holding a positive view of the president-elect and only 18 percent voicing a negative one.
Democrats in Congress, however, garnered positive ratings from just 41 percent of those surveyed, while their GOP counterparts registered only 24 percent. Meanwhile, large corporations rate positively among only 21 percent of voters, with 51 percent expressing negative feelings.
Knapp said the low ratings for American business and Congress reflect a sense that “people are really unhappy with the direction of the country and the economy.”
Big Business and the federal government received nearly equal blame from respondents for the economic downturn. When asked who deserves most of the blame, 31 percent said Wall Street firms, while 30 percent said loose government oversight and regulation.
Respondents showed support for stricter regulations, especially in the financial sector. Sixty percent said stricter enforcement and stronger regulation of financial firms would be very effective in curbing future abuses, and 59 percent said it was important for the Obama administration to “put in place a wide range of tough new regulations on business to protect consumers.”
“People think the federal government and business is responsible for the problem,” Knapp said. “There is a social contract the two are supposed to have that people feel has been shredded.”