Thursday

Deficit grows; polls down; apparently size matters.


I found this article on MSNBC recently. The poll numbers it reported left me feeling a bit conflicted. It seems that there are glimmers of hope that the American public have begun to awaken but other signs that they are still a bit groggy.

Decide for yourself. The article is included below and excerpts are in bold:

Poll: Public increasingly concerned about deficit

NBC/WSJ survey also shows concern over intervention in private sector

WASHINGTON - As the young Obama administration spends trillions of dollars in its effort to turn around the nation’s economy and revive the U.S. auto industry, the American public is growing concerned about the size of the budget deficit and the government’s intervention into the private sector, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds.

Could it be that the general populace recognizes the insanity of spending your way out of a deficit? Thus far there has been little sign that the stimulus has stimulated anything beyond a huge national debt. I hope that there is an awakening of the populace and a return of commons sense.

Nearly seven in 10 have serious reservations about the federal government’s ownership stake in General Motors. Almost 60 percent say that President Obama and Congress should worry more about keeping the deficit down — even if that means it will take longer for the economy to recover. And fewer than half of Americans have confidence in the president’s policies to improve the economy.

This gives me a least a glimmer of hope. It seems that people are not as ready for socialism as out administration had hoped. Government run businesses still have a certain stigma attached that people are not willing to let go. It also seems that the honeymoon is over and people are starting to look past the rhetoric for results and finding little substance behind the man.

Obama remains a popular figure in the poll. But these numbers on the deficit and the government’s intervention seem to mark a new period for the administration, as the public moves from welcoming his inauguration and first days in office to examining his initial actions as president.

Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted this survey with Republican Bill McInturff, says Obama is still receiving a bouquet from Americans. “But there are a lot more thorns in the bouquet.”

And looking ahead to the items Obama wants to tackle — like reforming health care and curbing greenhouse gases — Hart observes that the bar has been raised.

“There is no more smooth sailing for the administration. They are going to have to navigate in pretty choppy waters.”

The smooth sailing has ended at least in the arena of public opinion, not so much in the halls of Washington as Republican leaders are still offering no resistance to Obama’s march to socialism. Hopefully once they realize that standing around impotent is akin to career suicide they will be spurred into action.

McInturff agrees, although he adds that the president’s continued personal popularity gives him “the latitude to ask for major action and major change.”

Personal popularity aside what Obama is asking for is the total destruction of this nation as we have come to know and love it. I hope his popularity isn’t the only requirement the American public deem necessary for such a destructive course.

Independents now split on Obama

According to the poll, 60 percent view Obama favorably, versus just 29 percent who see him in a negative light. Also, three-quarters of the public say they like him personally, and that number includes 27 percent who don’t like his policies.

But the president’s overall approval rating is at 56 percent, which is down five percentage points from April.

The drop mainly comes from independents, who backed Obama by 60 percent to 31 percent in April, but approve of him now by a 46-44 clip.

Maybe the “independants” have finally moved past the messiah complex thing and started looking at the man and his policies. Obama has spewed lofty rhetoric since the beginning but platitudes like “hope and change” only carry you so far when your policies reflect “socialism and tyranny”.

I say to the recent independent converts “welcome aboard; about damn time”.

Yet perhaps the most troubling numbers in the poll for Obama come on questions about the administration’s intervention in the private sector, especially to help save troubled General Motors.

Public sours on GM intervention, deficit

Fifty-six percent oppose Obama’s action to provide financial aid to GM, in return for a majority stock in the company. Additionally, a whopping 69 percent say they’re concerned “a great deal” or “quite a bit” about the government’s ownership of the automaker.

I am encouraged by this ray of sunshine. 69 percent is an impressive number. It should be a lot higher but given the current state of the American electorate I’ll take it. It should give Obama reason to rethink any additional government take-overs of private sector businesses. The people seem to understand that there is something fundamentally Un-American about the idea.

In an interview Tuesday with CNBC’s John Harwood, Obama maintained that these interventions didn’t begin on his watch. “When I came in … the previous administration had already put in $10 billion to shore up the auto companies and asked nothing in return,” he said.

“Now, I had three choices. I could continue giving them money without asking anything in return, I could let them liquidate in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression, or we could say, ‘We don't want to run your company. Would you show us a plan that allows you to stand on your own two feet, so that what we're providing is a meaningful bridge for you to get to a better future?’”

Obama concluded, “We chose option three. That's not something that we welcomed, and the sooner we can get out the better.”

As the “hope and change” platitudes wear thin so does the “Bush did it” refrain coming from our esteemed and most holy leader Lord Obama. Obama threw additional billions into the abyss knowing that these companies were going belly-up anyway. He did this with the intent of making these companies wards of the state and repaying the union cronies that helped elect him.

Also in the poll, 58 percent say the president and Congress should worry more about keeping the deficit down, even if that means that it would take longer for the economy to recover.

By comparison, only 35 percent say the bigger worry should be boosting the economy, even if that adds to the size of the deficit.

Well at least some portion of the population understands that our economy cannot recover when straddled with suffocating debt. We have the specter of inflation looming on the horizon that will effectively crush any burgeoning recovery. We have a president that seems to think everything will be alright as long as we all “believe”.

But not blaming Obama

Despite their concerns, the American public isn’t blaming Obama for some of the current problems he’s facing. Asked who was more responsible for the size of the deficit, 46 percent cited the Bush administration, 21 percent said the Democrats in Congress, 7 percent said the Republicans in Congress and just 6 percent said the Obama administration.

In addition, 72 percent believe that the current state of the economy is something Obama inherited rather than created.

We at least the main stream state run media have been effective.

Even though the public remains pessimistic about the economy — just 12 percent say they are satisfied with it — the poll does show a bit of optimism with 46 percent expecting the economy to improve in the next year.

That’s up eight points since April, and it’s the highest percentage on that particular question since January 2004.

If only optimism were enough to conquer ignorance.

Health care, Sotomayor

On the topic of health care, the poll shows that more than three-quarters believe it’s important for Americans to have a choice between a public/government insurance plan and a private one. But if a government-run option is established, 47 percent of those who hold private insurance say it’s “very” or “somewhat” likely their employer would drop their plans.

This is where I lose a little faith in the American people. 47 percent understand that they would lose choice and yet close to 75 percent want to do it anyway. I am at a loss here to explain the understanding gap.

As McInturff, the GOP pollster, puts it: “It’s hard to change the status quo when you have people who have been well served by the status quo.”

This is particularly germane in as much as I currently have adequate health care provided by my employer at no cost to me. If this were to remain the case I would be less than concerned with what the government was doing about the uninsured.

Odds are however that I will see a significant reduction in my level of care and an increase in cost. How is this equitable? How is this American?

Also, when asked how they would prefer to finance health-care reform, 59 percent oppose taxing those with generous health benefits, while 70 percent oppose taxing everyone’s health benefits.

I agree let’s not penalize those of us who have adequate health care to provide it to those who do not. What surprises me about this number is that there are 30 percent out there how think taxing my health care is a good idea. I’m going to guess they are the same ones who still think Obama can walk on water.

Click for related content

Read the full NBC/Wall Street Journal poll (.pdf)
New York Times Politics
Newsvine Politics

Regarding Obama Supreme Court pick Sonia Sotomayor, the poll finds that her numbers compare favorably to — or even exceed — John Roberts’ and Samuel Alito’s. By a 43-20 percent margin, Americans support her nomination, and 50 percent believe she’s qualified to sit on the Supreme Court.

“Her numbers … are very strong,” McInturff says.

Other odds and ends

The poll — which was taken of 1,008 adults from June 12-15, and which has an overall margin of error of plus-minus 3.1 percentage points — also contains these findings:

26 percent view Dick Cheney favorably, which is up eight points from April

Interesting – Thought the left said he was the anti-Christ.

24 percent view Nancy Pelosi favorably, which is down seven points from April

Disappointing – why does anyone view this nut bag favorably?

25 percent hold a favorable view of the Republican Party, which is an all-time low for it in the poll

Appropriate – since they have not done their job as of late.

45 percent hold a favorable view of the Democratic Party.

Scary – as they are the architects of the destruction of America.

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