Free Markets, Free People

Obama Losing Independents?

Perception is reality in politics. I’m not sure how many times we’ve made that point on this blog. And the perception among those out in flyover country is the stimulus package being pushed by the Democrats is a turkey. Or a pig. Or both. Regardless of which animal reference you choose to use, the fact is most Americans don’t think it will work. As further proof of that point, take a look at the latest ATI-News/Zogby results:

Question #1: ATI-News/Zogby asked likely voters, “Some people say that the nearly one trillion dollars in debt and subsequent interest incurred by the stimulus bill during an economic downturn will make the recovery hard to achieve. Do you agree or disagree?”

Overall, 53 percent of Americans agree that the Obama stimulus bill will actually hinder economic recovery; while only 31 percent disagree (16 percent are not sure). Fifty-six percent of Independent voters also agree, while only 27 percent disagree (17 percent are not sure). A staggering 88 percent of Republicans agree and just 6 percent disagree (another 6 percent are not sure).

Frankly, when looking at these polls, I expect the majority of Democrats polled to support Democratic policy and the majority of Republicans not to support it. I key on self-identified independents who have the luxury of going whichever way they choose to go on each policy question. And in the case of this issue, independents are not at all impressed with it. So while President Obama’s personal approval ratings remain high (and that should come as no real surprise this early in his presidency), he’s not been able to convincingly sell this mess to a majority of Americans.

Question #2: ATI-News/Zogby asked voters, “Some Republicans say the Obama stimulus package spends too much and stimulates too little. Do you agree or disagree?”

Fifty-seven percent of Independent voters agree that Obama’s stimulus package spends too much and does little to stimulate the economy; while just 31 percent of Independents disagree (12 percent are not sure). Eighty-nine percent of Republicans also agree, while only 5 percent disagree (6 percent are not sure).

Of importance here is a majority of independents are agreeing with Republicans on the issue. That lays the responsiblity for the bill squarely in the lap of the Democrats. Of course that’s a double-edged sword for Republicans on the off chance this bill somehow succeeds. But if I were giving odds, I’d go 80/20 against.

Question #3: ATI-News/Zogby asked voters, “Most Republicans oppose the currently proposed stimulus bill supported by President Obama because they say there is too much money being spent for non-stimulus items. Do you agree or disagree that too much money is being spent on items that won’t improve the economy?”

Sixty-six percent of Independent voters think Obama wants to spend too much money on items that won’t improve the economy. As for Republicans, a staggering 93 percent agree.

Across the board, the poll found that, on average, 90 percent of Republicans and 60 percent of Independents disapprove of Obama’s stimulus bill.

The answer to this particular question shows the sharpest split and the largest majority of independents against the Obama bill. That sort of percentage means despite all the TV appearances, town hall meetings and press conferences, the message Obama has been putting out there has been rejected.

That means that Republicans have been at least partially successful in framing the debate. Of course they’ve been helped by the common sense argument that you can’t cure a problem brought on by borrowing and spending with more massive borrowing and spending. Somewhere, as the public knows and many have experienced, we have to pay up. The public has also had enough experience with government programs to know they’re never speedy, they’re wasteful and they’re poorly monitored. My guess is what you see reflected in those independent numbers is a healthy dose of both skepticism and mistrust.

As the details of this bill have become public, the claim that there’s ‘no pork’ in it has been resoundingly rejected. The spin has not been effective and the public perceives this all as “business as usual” among Congress and Democrats. And it also isn’t helping the Obama image. Many now think he got rolled by Democratic leaders in Congress and, instead of displaying leadership, is now their front-guy trying to leverage his popularity into a win for this massive mess of a bill.

I still think the bill will pass in some form or fashion. But one thing I think is certain. Obama’s honeymoon was a short one and is now over. And I’m also of the opinion that he’ll never again be trusted by independents as the agent for “hope” and “change” in Washington DC. To them, in the future, those will be “just words”.


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12 Responses to Obama Losing Independents?

  • I can’t but help believe that the Obama Administration believes this whole recession is “much ado about nothing”. They must believe what the CBO is saying, that the recession will be over by the latter half of 09 – following the old rule fo thumb that a recession will last only about 18 months. If that be true, then this is merely a grandstand play that will end with Obama symbolically riding in to save the day with his “Stimulus” Plan. Then the entire US, if not the world, will be forever greatful for being saved by the Democrats, led by Obama. The citizenry of the US, now being forever reminded of this action by the “waving the bloody shirt” (Remember the post Civil War era?) of the economic miracle, will bow to the will of the Democrats/Obamacrats for the next couple of generations.
    The reality is that this is not some simple stimulus plan.  Saving the economy is far from the minds of the Democrats.  But within reach by use of the bloody flag and the targeted spending provided by the plan is a far more tantalyzing prize – perpetual Democratic party rule.

  • Obama will lose just about everyone if he has another press conference where he NEVER looks at the cameras and spends his entire time scolding the country through the attending media corps.

    I imagine he’ll start looking at the cameras and talking to us once the media turns on him. Won’t be long.

  • The problem is that the idiots in the GOP have apparently been paid off and will now support Porkulus.

    As usual, the GOP blew it.  By initially opposing Porkulus, they set themselves up for portrayal by MiniTru as standing in the way of stimulus and recovery (“delay and do nothing”).  Now, they p*** off their own base by going along with it, showing themselves to be almost as bad as the democrats (spit) when it comes to wasting taxpayer money.  Further, when Porkulus fails to stimulate the economy and indeed likely wrecks it down the road due to massively-increased public debt, the GOP can’t claim that they opposed it.

    I thought Lott and Hastert were stupid, but I’m afraid that McConnell and Boehner have outdone them.  Porkulus may be the last straw for the GOP: any idea that the GOP stands for fiscal restraint and responsibility or even personal liberty is gone.  They have proved themselves nothing more than democrat-lite.

  • 3 whole Republicans supported the spendathon, ie the WHOLE GOP is at fault.

    The final bill hasn’t been drafted, and the final vote hasn’t been taken.  Take action and call those 3 and other congresscritters before it’s to late.

  • A big meme during the election was that Obama’s main experience was running for office (campaigning).  It seems like that continues with this tour to sell the “stimulus” bill.  Really, how often do presidents go out and do town hall meetings to drum up support for legislation?

  • If perception is reality in politics then what is the perception of “independents?”  I think independents range from Ron Paul supporters to Pat Buchanan, to Norman Thomas Socialists and more.  How does one appeal to that group?

  • Heck, this is even better.  He’s loosing dyed in the wool liberals on the stimulus spendathon.

    President Obama was ill-served by his advisors (shall we thump that checkered piñata, Rahm Emanuel?), who evidently did not help him to produce a strong, focused, coherent bill that he could have explained and defended to the nation before it was set upon by partisan wolves. To defer to the House of Representatives and let the bill be thrown together by cacophonous mob rule made the president seem passive and behind the curve.

    Most mainstream American voters are undoubtedly suffering from economist fatigue these days. This one calls for tax cuts; that one condemns them. One says we’re wasting hundreds of billions of dollars; the other claims that sum falls pathetically short. A plague on all their houses! Surely common sense would dictate that when Congress is doling out fat dollops of taxpayers’ money, due time should be delegated for sober consideration and debate. The administration’s coercive rush toward instant action, accompanied by apocalyptic pronouncements of imminent catastrophe, has put its own credibility on the line.


  • Wait and see how 3 Republicans supporting it makes it “bipartisan” and “Republican supported” once it craters like the big fat lead Zepplin(with apologies) that it is.  Hell, we’re doing it here right now.  It doesn’t mean it’s party support if 3 of them supported it, any more than it means the House of Reps has gone Republican because a couple blue dog Democrats were against porkulus v.1.

  • I fear stagflation or worse hyperinflation.  I don’t see how we can get enough people/companies/countries to buy our bonds to cover $1.5 trillion in spending (plus interest) and the regular budget deficit.  To do so the interest rate return will have to be increased which will cause problems in our economy.  Already interest rates reportedly have risen 0.94% because of the prospect of a February sale of bonds.
    I have yet to hear anyone discuss the impact of inflation/rising interest rates on ARM’s.  We had few of those in our worse modern recession in 1981-82 with its very high inflation peaking at 14.76 in 1980 and unemployment peaking in 1982 at 10.8%.  The worse misery index, inflation plus unemployment, was 21.98% in June 1980.  Today so many 2nd mortgages are ARM’s and as are a high percentage of 1st mortgages.  Some ARM’s now have a 2.48% interest rate and people supposedly can’t make the mortgage payments.  What will it be like when they rise to 10% or more.  My fixed mortgage in 1975 was 9.5% with inflation over 9% and in 1974 inflation was over 11%.  So if we think we have mortgage defaults now, wait until interest rates skyrocket.

  • I would not be so sure that the public “wises up” even if the economy further tanks.  The democrats have huge advantages. They have all of the mainstream media, they have the unions which they will pass legislation to increase their power.  They have  the minority groups and will amnesty millions of illegals to change the status of states like Texas  from red to blue. And in two years they will be in control of redistricting.

    Remember they can blame Bush, evil rethuglicans, greedy wall street fat cats, and laissez fair economics for a long time.

    FDR basically made the depression worse for ten years and still all the old people curse the Republicans for the great depression.