Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Obama Begins Presidency With High Marks Across the Board

By Nathan L. Gonzales

Barack Obama begins his presidency with stratospheric marks among Democrats and the support of a fair amount of Republicans who voted against him.

According to a Research 2000 poll done for the liberal blog Daily Kos and released Friday afternoon, Obama enjoys 77 percent favorable/20 percent unfavorable ratings among all adults. Unsurprisingly, Democrats gave him a 93 percent favorable/4 percent unfavorable rating, but Obama’s numbers among Republicans weren’t terrible either (43 percent favorable/54 percent unfavorable). The survey of 2,400 adults was conducted Jan. 19-22.

While Obama cruised to a 365-173 Electoral College win, his popular vote victory of 53 percent to 46 percent was much narrower. More than 69 million people voted for the former Illinois Senator, but 60 million people voted against him.

Now, Obama voters and many McCain voters approve of the transition, are happy about the inauguration and feel as patriotic as ever.

According to a Jan. 12-15 Opinion Research Corp. poll for CNN, 84 percent of adult Americans approved of Obama’s handling of the transition, while only 14 percent disapproved. In 2001, 61 percent approved of former President George W. Bush’s transition from the Clinton administration after the contentious election, while 25 percent disapproved.

Sixty-eight percent of adults said they were thrilled or happy about the inauguration before it happened, while only 16 percent were unhappy or depressed. By comparison, 50 percent said they were thrilled or happy about Bush’s second inauguration in 2005, and 22 percent were unhappy or depressed.

And once again, Americans are feeling patriotic in this inaugural season. According to the CNN poll, 83 percent said they were extremely or very proud to be an American, the same percentage as in January 2005. In 2001, 87 percent said they were extremely or very proud to be an American.

Finally, Obama enjoyed a 78 percent favorable/17 percent unfavorable rating in the mid-January CNN poll. Bush had a 62 percent favorable/36 percent unfavorable rating when he entered the White House and left with a 35 percent favorable/60 percent unfavorable rating.

Although Obama starts his presidency with high approval numbers, these polls were conducted before he had to make concrete policy decisions that could alienate some voters. Only time will tell how long Obama can sustain this level of popularity.

This story first appeared on on January 24, 2009. 2009 © Roll Call Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.