Pew Poll: Voters Want Less Mush from the Wimp

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 26 2011 9:23 AM

Pew Poll: Voters Want Less Mush from the Wimp

A lot to masticate on in the Pew poll, but a consistent theme seems to be voters deciding that the president is too weak in his negotiations with Republicans. Exhibit A:

There also has been a substantial erosion of Obama’s leadership image. Since May, the percentage saying Obama is able to get things done has fallen from 55% to 44%, while the percentage viewing Obama as a strong leader has declined from 58% to 49%. Fewer Democrats and independents now view Obama as a strong leader than did so in May (down 10 points, eight points, respectively).
Advertisement

Exhibit B:

A 37% plurality now contends that Obama should challenge the Republicans in Congress more often; 25% say Obama should go along with GOP leaders more frequently, while about the same percentage (26%) say he is handling the situation about right. In April, fewer (27%) said Obama should challenge GOP congressional leaders more often.

The Magic President meme, seen everywhere from Tom Friedman columns to New York Times columns not written by Tom Friedman, has real heft among ordinary people. What would "challenging Republicans in Congress" have meant in the debt limit fight? In the CR fight? In both cases, the president had to get a package that could pass a Republican House. In both cases, the Democrats' political operation worked to make Republicans look crazy, and that partially worked -- Republican approval numbers are sinking faster than anyone else's -- but could Obama have done more to justify his own spending, his own priorities? When most fellow Democrats didn't agree with them? No: Muddling through and muddying Republicans is the best he could do for the first half of the year.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?

The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.

Jurisprudence

Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

What to Do if You Literally Get a Bug in Your Ear

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 16 2014 11:46 PM The Scariest Campfire Story More horrifying than bears, snakes, or hook-handed killers.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.