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Thursday, May 09, 2013

Poll: Americans don’t expect Obama to control Republican minds

In war, if someone refuses to fight and runs away, they shoot all the generals, right? I mean, it’s obviously the generals’ failure to lead that led to this soldier’s desertion and it would be silly to hold him responsible for his dereliction of duty. Every deserter results in a round of executions at the Pentagon, right?

If that sounds stupid to you, you must not be a pundit. Recently, the punditry have taken to an intellectually lazy argument that the reason for Washington being broken is that Pres. Obama is failing to lead. They never actually get around to explaining what he should be doing differently or what magical “leadership” it would take to for Republicans to take their thumbs out of their butts and do some actual work for a change. It’s just true because it’s true. Don’t ask them to explain it — because they can’t. It makes no sense.

Luckily, new polling shows that the American people have a much better handle on American politics than the people paid to have a handle on it.
Scott Clement, The Fix: Americans have lost confidence in President Obama’s ability to get things done, according to a Pew Research Center poll released Wednesday. But after public fights to avoid sequester budget cuts and pass new gun-control laws have stalled, Obama has also garnered some sympathy — two-thirds say he fights hard for his policies, and twice as many blame Republicans leaders in Congress than Obama for a lack of compromise in Washington.

Just 49 percent of the public says Obama is “able to get things done,” down from 57 percent in January and closer to his levels of confidence in 2012. But the vast majority of Americans, 67 percent, believe Obama is fighting hard for his policies, a quality that has been questioned in the wake of legislative setbacks.

On the most important issues facing the country, fully eight in 10 say that Obama and Republicans are not working together. Roughly twice as many blame Republican leaders in Congress for the not working together as blame Obama (42 percent vs. 22 percent), tying the widest margin in Pew Research polls since 2009. One reason for the gap: 70 percent of Democrats blame Republicans, but only 53 percent of Republicans blame Obama.
The American people don’t expect Barack Obama to practice some sort of magical Presidential Mesmerism. And they don’t fault him for not hypnotizing Republicans either. The general consensus is pretty much in line with reality; the President fights to get things done, but Republicans make it impossible. 76% believe he “stands up for what he believes in,” 67% believe he “fights hard to get his policies passed,” and only 22% say that the lack of cooperation in Washington is Obama’s fault — i.e., he’s “failing to lead.” Most importantly in busting the punditry’s myth though; 56% — a clear majority — describe the president as a “strong leader.”

I suppose it’s a little ironic that the punditry is suffering from a failure to lead people astray.

[image via Wikimedia Commons]

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