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The Popularity Gap

Obama’s supporters and the media (excuse the repetition) never tire of telling us how darn popular he is. This is supposed to defang his opponents, or warn the public off of even debating his policies’ merits. But the public is hardly thrilled about his policies. Rasmussen reports:

Thirty-one percent (31%) of U.S. voters believe the economic stimulus package passed earlier this year has helped the economy. That’s down from 34% who thought it would help in late February and 38% who held that view when it first passed earlier in the month.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 27% now believe the $789-billion legislation has hurt the economy, and another 31% say it’s had no impact. Eleven percent (11%) are not sure.

Most Democrats (52%) believe the stimulus plan has helped the economy, but just 15% of Republicans agree. Among those not affiliated with either major party, 29% say the stimulus plan has hurt, 22% say it helped, and 40% say it’s had no impact.

And the GM bailout? People hate the concept. And Guantanamo closing? You get the idea. Eventually presidents are judged on what they do, not what they say or how infatuated the media is with what they say. As Robert J. Samuelson muses:

Are his proposals practical, even if desirable? Maybe they’re neither? What might be the unintended consequences? All “reforms” do not succeed; some cause more problems than they solve. Johnson’s economic policies, inherited from Kennedy, proved disastrous; they led to the 1970s’ “stagflation.” The “war on poverty” failed. The press should not be hostile, but it ought to be skeptical.

What we know is that many of these proposals aren’t popular and fly in the face of deep skepticism about the size and cost of government. Those who follow his lead (in Congress and at the state level) should be wary: they may experience quite a backlash when voters discover they’ve been doing things they really don’t like.


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