At the end of his first 100 days on the job, a significant poll indicates President Barack Obama receives approval from an overwhelming majority of his fellow Americans. Sixty-three percent voted in his favor, 36 percent did not, in a survey paid for by The Washington Post and ABC-TV.
This may come as a total shock to my conservative friends; they do not read the Post, preferring The Washington Times. They have no truck with the American Broadcasting Company; everything they want is on the Fox News channel. They choose to ignore the professionalism of the survey company that designed the questions and tabulated the findings. The overall results cited in the opening paragraph came to the inquiry:
"Obama has been president for about three months or nearly 100 days. Would you say he has accomplished..."
Thirty-nine percent responded "a good amount;" another 27 percent said "a great deal." On the other hand, one in five thought he had done "not much." Eighteen percent told the poll "little or nothing." In separate categories, ranging from "Situation in Iraq" to "Immigration Issues," Mr. Obama received strong approval except for "Situation involving the big U.S. automakers." He failed on that.
Both GOP and Democratic congressmen received the back of the hand from the people polled. Republicans were down to 21 percent; but the opposition party was not much better. Democrats on Capitol Hill rated positive from 36 percent; folks on the other side of the aisle were down to 21 percent. The survey was designed and tabulated by TNS Intersearch, based in Horsham, PA, but with more than 100 offices around the world. TNS consists of the founders' last-name initials: Taylor, Nelson and Sopres.
I'm convinced the survey is on-the-up and not solely because it agrees with my observations. In 56 years professionally observing elections and their aftermath, I scratch my bald head and still find nothing to compare with the present situation. The original 100 days, as I understand, was a honeymoon in which critics withheld criticism in order to give Franklin Delano Roosevelt space to work on solutions to the Great Depression.
Even before he put his left hand on the Bible and raised his right arm to take the oath, Mr. Obama received withering sniping. As far as I'm concerned, his chief culpability rose from the fact that he won the election, and the nation's rightists didn't like it. As I pointed out in last week's column, a disproportionate number of people even protested against the new White House puppy and his name.
In my inner consciousness I believe the far-right critics made it worse for themselves; by yelling so much, they forced voters to decide their own positions. They chose not to join the attack against a president they had just elected. Our national sense of what's right triumphed. The expected torrent of racism was replaced by protectiveness of the first African American to win the White House.
Naturally, I expect my conservative friends to disagree, especially at my suggestion they lower their voices and their rhetoric. They can expect to be lumped with the radicals among us, which does not augur well with their announced plans to retake Capitol Hill's majority.