Poll: People Like Obama, But Not So Much His Policies


“People (still) really like President Obama,” reports the The Washington Post today pointing to a new WaPo/ABC News poll showing just that. “Fifty-seven percent of people view Obama favorably in the new Post-ABC survey while 41 percent regard him unfavorably,” reports the Post. “Those numbers are remarkably similar to the 60 percent favorable/37 percent unfavorable ratings for Obama in Post-ABC polling conducted in late January — just weeks after the president had been inaugurated for a second term.”

Left unsaid is that President Obama’s actually policies poll much lower, which is revealed in the polling data. Approval for how President Obama is handling his job is much lower, with 50% approving and 46% saying they disapprove. On the economy, 52% disapprove of President Obama while just 44% approve.

I wrote this, last week, about President Obama getting is NCAA tournament bracket in on time but missing the national budget deadline:

You know what the sad thing is? Political junkies and wonks (including myself, obviously) will gripe about President Obama’s poor priorities. And we’re right, of course, but there are a lot of low information voters out there who see the President submitting his tournament brackets – just like them – and think about what a swell guy he is.

And then they support him politically. Not because they know all that much about his policies or their impact on our country, but because they like him.

I think this poll bears that out. I think the American people really like President Obama. Heck, I think he seems like a pretty fun guy to hang out with. I don’t think Americans like his policies as much, but when you’re living in a country where a lot of voters don’t really concern themselves with the nitty-gritty details of policy, that doesn’t matter.

The sad reality is that for President Obama, his status as a likable celebrity matters much more than his policies. Which is in line with the trend for this poll, showing that President Obama is popular around election time (when his campaign is working extra-hard to make him likable to the public), while that popularity wanes when the President is actually governing: