Political Report, October 2011

Pete Souza/White House

President Barack Obama visits Mast General Store in Boone, N.C., during a stop on the American Jobs Act bus tour, Oct. 17, 2011.

Political Report, October 2011

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In the latest Political Report (PR), American Enterprise Institute (AEI) Senior Fellow and public opinion expert Karlyn Bowman and researcher Andrew Rugg examine the president's standing. The report also examines attitudes towards Social Security, the health care bill, and the economy.

  • President Obama looks worse than any recent incumbent on evaluations of the country's direction, consumer confidence, personal financial appraisals, and job approval at this point in the first term.
  • Americans evaluations of the economy remain abysmal. Only 15% of Americans think they are now better off financially than when Obama became president (35% worse off).
  • President Obama has lost significant ground among key demographic groups. His job approval is down to 32% among whites. It's 36% among independents.
  • While evaluations of Obama's leadership qualities have soured since 2009, many Americans continue to believe he is easygoing, likable, and honest.
  • Americans have become increasingly negative about the new health law's effect on them and the country. Thirty-two percent now think they will be worse off under the health care reform law, up from 11% who gave that response in February 2009.
  • Forty-two percent of 18-to-34 year olds think describing Social Security as "a monstrous lie" is accurate. Retired Americans are relying more on Social Security as a major source of income, and their doubts about the program are growing.
  • Class warfare or math? Americans don't particularly admire or resent the rich.
  • And in Poll Potpourri: Pan Am takes off, investing in gold, popular college courses, and traveling abroad

Karlyn Bowman is a senior fellow and Andrew Rugg is a research assistant at AEI

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