Even with a sampling imbalance in favor Democrats (36 percent, to only 27 percent Republicans, as opposed to the recent Gallup survey showing a 6-point spread) and the polling of all adults (not even registered voters), the New York Times poll has some remarkably unpleasant news for liberals. Obama’s approval has slid 3 points in a month, to 50 percent, and their signature legislative item, health care, is seen by only 12 percent of the respondents as the most important issue (23 percent say the economy, 24 percent say jobs). Forty-two percent like the president’s handling of health care, while 50 percent disapprove. Thirty-four percent think health-care reform will hurt them personally, while 16 percent think it will help. Forty-two percent say it will make no difference.
On Afghanistan, the Gray Lady’s readers really may be shocked to discover that by a 49 to 39 percent margin, Americans think we’re doing the right thing fighting there; and by a 51 to 43 percent margin, they approve of the deployment of troops, even though by a 47 to 42 percent margin they think the president hasn’t explained his plan clearly enough. The kicker: by a margin of 55 to 41 percent, Americans disapprove of the “withdrawal date.” To pay for the war, 53 percent favor spending cuts, while only 10 percent favor tax hikes. Hmm. Sounds like the neocon conspiracy now extends to a majority of the country.
All in all, it’s quite an impressive showing — for the widespread acceptance of conservative views. But it sure must come as a shock to the New York Times‘s readers, who, if they only read the Times, would be lead to believe that Afghanistan is a disaster and health care is a must-have accomplishment for the Democratic party.