Most in AP poll confident Obama will fix economy
Published - Nov 11 2008 04:46PM EST | AP
In one of the economy's darkest hours in decades, it looks as ifpeople are taking Barack Obama up on his exhortations for hope andchange. Seven in 10, or 72 percent, voice confidence thepresident-elect will make the changes needed to revive the stallingeconomy, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll released Tuesday.
Underscoringhow widely the public is counting on its new leader, 44 percent ofRepublicans joined nearly all Democrats and most independents inexpressing that belief.
The poll shows trust in Obama's abilityto succeed is even broader, at least for now. Sixty-eight percent saidthey think when he takes office in January, the new president will beable to enact the policies he pushed during his presidential campaign.
"I don't think one person, the president or otherwise, can fix theproblems," said Ryan Anderson, 31, a Democrat from Bloomington, Minn."But I have strong faith that he'll assemble the right group ofindividuals to address the problems. I think that's going to be abenchmark of Obama's presidency."
People signaled a willingnessto wait on one of the keynotes of his agenda _ tax cuts. Only 36percent said they wanted Obama to make income-tax cuts a top prioritywhen he takes office, and even fewer wanted higher taxes on the rich tobe a primary goal.
Instead, 84 percent said strengthening theeconomy and 80 percent named creating jobs as top-tier priorities.Democrats were a bit likelier than Republicans to say each should be aNo. 1 goal.
With Obama ending the GOP's eight-year hold on theWhite House under President Bush and about to become the first blackpresident, the AP-GfK poll showed three quarters saying the electionmade them feel hopeful, six in 10 proud and half expressing excitement.Newly elected presidents often embark on a honeymoon period in whichthe public has highly positive feelings about them.
Democratswere far likelier to feel upbeat, yet such feelings were not limited tothem. Half of Republicans said they were hopeful, a third proud andnearly a fifth excited about the election results. Another quarter inthe GOP said they were depressed.
"I feel let down by theAmerican people that they were so blind to many things I've seen inhim," said Shelli Pierson, 38, a Republican from Elmira, Ore. Piersonshe doubts Obama, a four-year senator from Illinois, has enoughexperience for the presidency and said she still questions hispatriotism.
Nine in 10 said Obama's race would have no impact on his ability to get things done.
Though Republicans were more negative about the election results,they were consistently more upbeat than Democrats were in 2004 whentheir candidate, John Kerry, failed to unseat Bush. Forty-four percentof Democrats said they were angry and half said they were depressed ina November 2004 AP-Ipsos poll, double the GOP's rates this year.
Highlightinganew how the Iraq war has faded as a paramount public concern, onlyhalf in Tuesday's AP-GfK poll said they wanted Obama to make a U.S.troop withdrawal a top focus.
The survey also spotlighted theenduring partisan split over the war. Two-thirds of Democrats want atroop withdrawal to be a top Obama priority, compared with just threein 10 Republicans.
In a November 2004 poll before the economy crashed, Iraq andterrorism were most mentioned as the issues they wanted Bush to makehis top priority. Until the weakening economy overtook Iraq as the No.1 problem on the public's mind nearly a year ago, Obama's pledge to seta timetable for withdrawing troops from the war was his highest-profileissue.
Six in 10 cited stabilizing financial institutions and reducing budget deficits as top goals in the AP-GfK survey.
Halfsaid they wanted national health care coverage _ another Obama priority_ to be a No. 1 concern, with few Republicans agreeing it should be atop goal. Permitting offshore oil drilling, a major GOP campaign issue,drew support as a top priority from just over one-third, mostlyRepublicans.
Nearly three-quarters _ including most Democrats _said they'd like Obama to name some Republicans in his Cabinet, as theDemocrat has said he would do.
Most also expressed no problemwith the lock Democrats will have on Washington beginning next year.Four in 10 said Democratic control of the White House and Congress willbe good for the country while another 2 in 10 said it would make nodifference.
Thirty-six percent said the country is moving in theright direction, about double the 17 percent who said so in lastmonth's AP-GfK poll. Reflecting the election results, half of Democratsnow see things heading the right way _ quadruple their number who saidso in October.
Bush and Congress remained mired in awful ratings,with 28 percent approving of the job Bush is doing and 21 percentapproving of Congress.
The AP-GfK poll was conducted Nov. 6-10 and involved cell andlandline telephone interviews with 1,001 adults. It has a margin ofsampling error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
AP News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius contributed to this report.