News / USA

Poll: Obama More Likeable Than Policies

President Barack Obama (file photo)
President Barack Obama (file photo)

A new poll finds that most Americans like President Barack Obama personally, but are sharply divided over his policies.  Meanwhile, some of the Republicans who would like to challenge Mr. Obama in next year’s presidential election are taking some tentative first steps toward joining the 2012 campaign.  

The Quinnipiac University poll shows most Americans find President Obama personally likeable. But when it comes to his policies, the country is divided, says pollster Peter Brown. "Almost three in four Americans, 74 percent, say they like President Obama personally.  But only 42 percent like his policies.  That is a very large gap and the question in terms of the president’s re-election is really whether his personality or his policies will rule."

Mr. Obama argues some of his policies on the economy are bearing fruit.  The latest jobs report shows unemployment is now below nine percent, its lowest level in nearly two years. "And that is progress, but we need to keep building on that momentum," he said.

President Obama’s job-approval rating has improved in several polls during the past few months, but political analysts say his re-election hopes hinge on improvements in the U.S. economy.

Analyst Charlie Cook told the CSPAN public-affairs network the jobs situation in particular is critically important as the 2012 campaign draws closer. "I would rather know the unemployment rate because I think ultimately it is more important.  That is not to say the Republican nominee is not important, but (the election) is a referendum on the incumbent president, number one, and number two, people vote their pocketbooks (economic interests)," he said.

It is expected that several Republican presidential candidates will formally take steps to enter the race in the next few months.  But so far the campaign has been slow to develop.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich launched a Web site last week inviting voters to help him explore a possible White House bid next year.

And former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney criticized the president’s health-care reform law during a speech he gave in the early primary state of New Hampshire. "One thing I would never do is usurp the constitutional power of states with a one-size-fits-all federal takeover.  I would repeal Obama-care," he said.

At this point in the presidential election cycle four years ago, all the major White House contenders had officially entered the race.  But the 2012 Republican field is developing very slowly, and some Democrats believe that is because of President Obama’s improved standing in the polls.

Analyst Faiz Shakir is with the Center for American Progress in Washington and was a recent guest on VOA’s Encounter program. "I think one of the reasons that Republicans have not been rushing out of the gate to challenge Obama as they would have perhaps a few months ago is that they see the political fortunes of Obama actually getting better and the economy improving," he said.

But many Republicans do not accept that argument.  John Fortier is a political scholar with the American Enterprise Institute.  "I think the president has improved since the election.  His (poll) numbers are up.  But we should not overstate this.  Certainly the president is kind of in the middle.  He certainly could win at this point, he could lose, but he is not somebody who I think is scaring off Republicans," he said.

Republican caucus and primary contests will not begin until early next year, but a number of Republican candidate debates are scheduled for this year beginning in May.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs