Polls appear to be the only reality to others, particularly the mainstream media. For me they are an interesting snapshot of what people are feeling these days. They should not be taken as "the gospel truth," however. Popularity polls and approval ratings can vary widely from week to week, for example, while polls about deeply held beliefs will be more stable over time. The leaders depicted at Mount Rushmore achieved their popularity only after the lessons of history were learned and their achievements came into more realistic perspective.
People think President Obama is doing a bit better these days as the leader of the USA. The president's job approval rating increase is associated with his handling of a number of issues. Among them are the economy, unemployment, health care, terrorism, the budget deficit, taxes and the war in Afghanistan. The only decline was shown to be the war in Afghanistan. The headline, "Poll: Obama's approval rating jumps 6 percent," is from The Huffington Post (10/6/09). It regards a new AP poll. To quote:
President Barack Obama's approval ratings are starting to rise after declining ever since his inauguration, new poll figures show as the country's mood begins to brighten. But concerns about the economy, health care and war persist, and support for the war in Afghanistan is falling. . . The economy was the biggest concern, with 88 percent saying they consider it extremely or very important. . .
People think Congress is doing worse. And it is no wonder. August saw a Republican push for "tea party" demonstrations against health care reform, disrupted town hall meetings, and slow progress by the Senate Finance Committee. And both Democrats and Republicans are upset with Congress. The approval rating has fallen from 39% in March, to 31% last month, to 21% currently. "Approval of U.S. Congress falls to 21%, driven by Democrats," is the Gallup headline (10/6/09). To quote:
Congressional approval rose sharply in the months after President Obama's inauguration, from 19% in January to 31% in February and 39% in March. Approval then began to slip gradually, dipping to 31% by the end of the summer, before falling precipitously in October. Given the current 21% reading, it appears that any "honeymoon" period for the 111th Congress has eroded.
Poll results can vary by race. In this case it has to do with how well people feel the economic stimulus package worked to help the economy. The headline, "Poll:Stimulus views vary by race," is from Politico (10/6/09). To quote:
The poll, sponsored by New America Media, a corroboration of 2,500 ethnic media outlets, reported that less than 40 percent of whites, Hispanics and Native Americans said the stimulus has made the economy better, compared to 59 percent of African-Americans and 47 percent of Asian-Americans.
Among the overall sample of 1,000 respondents, 40 percent said the stimulus has made the national economy better.
“The American public currently believes that the stimulus package has not had a major impact on the national economy,” wrote pollster Sergio Bendixen in his analysis of the survey. “Only African-Americans believe that President Obama’s stimulus package ‘has made the economy better.’”
People are not optimistic about the war in Afghanistan. Many feel that the U.S. is bogged down in the region. The Presidential election results also may have fed the feelings of pessimism. "Americans expecting no resolution in Afghanistan," is the headline from CQ Politics (10/5/09). To quote:
Majorities of American adults think the war in Afghanistan cannot be won and that its most likely conclusion would be no conclusion at all, according to a poll by Clarus Research Group conducted Oct. 1-4.