A new low: 44% approve Obama’s job performance, 47% disapprove; 29% approval among independents

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The Marist Poll of U.S. public opinion conducted February 1-3 finds fewer registered voters nationwide—44%—currently approve of President Obama’s perfromance as president than disapprove—47%.  For the first time since he took office, a majority of Independents—57%—disapproves of how he is doing in the role. 54% of Americans nationwide say, in general, the country is headed in the wrong direction.  Unless Obama and his Congressional majority begin soon to demonstrate some urgency in hammering out a coherent agenda with a coherent narrative, and show the public they can rise above endless processing and political impasse to execute effective policymaking, we can kiss the prospect of meaningful climate legislation (and much else) goodbye.

Post by Rick Piltz

Complete poll release and tables

From the February 8 news release from Marist College Institute for Public Opinion:

On the Promise of Change

38% think the direction in which Mr. Obama is moving the country is for the worse, and 37% believe he is changing the nation for the better.  22% say there has been no change at all, and 3% are unsure.

In Marist’s last survey [December 2009], a plurality of the electorate — 44% — thought Obama was changing the country for the better.  35% disagreed and thought he was making things worse.  18% said the president had not brought about any change, and 3% were unsure.

Impressions have shifted across party lines.  Democrats have become less positive and Independents have become more negative.  Looking at Democrats, 69% report the president is improving the nation compared with 76% who thought so two months ago.

Independents who were previously divided have soured toward Mr. Obama.  45% today report the president is changing the country for the worse while 26% think the opposite is true.  In Marist’s previous survey, 36% saw him as making a positive impact on the nation, and the same proportion — 36% — believed he was negatively altering the country. … 

“Country Moving in Wrong Direction,” Says Majority

54% of Americans nationwide say, in general, the country is headed in the wrong direction. 38% believe they are moving along the right track, and 8% are unsure.

Residents have become more pessimistic about the country’s path compared with The Marist Poll’s December survey. At that time, Americans divided with 46% reporting the country wsas moving in the right direction and 46% saying it was headed in the wrong direction.

The Obama Administration faces an enormous set of challenges, in a nation weakened by several decades of largely “wrong-track” political leadership and an ever-greater concentration of non-accountable private economic power. The Administration and its allies are up against a relentless political attack machine that was responsible for much of the damage to the country that Obama inherited. 

That being said, it must also be said that much political capital and much of the electorate’s initial goodwill has been lost, amazingly rapidly, under the approach taken so far by Obama and the Senate Democrats. Tangled up in indecisive processing, they have not governed expeditiously on most key issues. Unless they begin to demonstrate an ability to hammer out a coherent majority agenda, make majority governing decisions with something that conveys a sense of urgency rather than impasse, and frame and communicate an effective narrative in the court of public opinion, we can kiss the prospect of meaningful climate legislation (and much else) goodbye.

Two articles I found useful on the current problems:

John Judis in The New Republic

Drew Westen at Huffington Post

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