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Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 04/12/2011

West Wing briefing: public frustrated with both Obama and Congress

President Obama emerged from the budget negotiations of the last several weeks more popular than either party in Congress, but overall, Americans seemed dissatisfied with everyone in Washington, according to two polls released Monday.

Throughout the negotiations that brought the nation to a brink of a government shutdown, the president took pains to cast himself as above the fray, trying to referee a fight between the two political parties. In truth, however, he and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) were advocating essentially the same liberal positions, in contrast to the conservative views of House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio.)

A CNN survey conducted over the weekend suggests that Obama’s approach convinced the public: 54 percent of Americans approved of how the president handled the budget negotiations, while 45 percent did not. Meanwhile, 44 percent of Americans approved of how congressional Republicans performed, while 54 percent disapproved. For congressional Democrats, the numbers were exactly the same as for Republicans.

In a Washington Post/Pew Research Center poll, 72 percent of people said Obama bore some blame for the near-shutdown, compared to 82 percent who blamed Democratic leaders in Congress and 81 percent who cited GOP leaders.

The Washington Post/Pew poll also showed other bad news for all parties involved. Asked to define how they viewed the process, the most popular word employed by people who were polled was “ridiculous,” followed by “disgusting.”

The CNN survey suggested that many non-Democrats blamed Obama. His high approval ratings came almost entirely from self-identified Democrats; only 12 percent of them disapproved of how the president handled the budget agreement. Much larger numbers of Democrats (23 percent) didn’t like how Reid managed the issue, and many Republicans (27 percent) did not approve of how Boehner handled it.

A majority (52 percent) of independents, whom the president is trying to court as his reelection campaign starts, disapproved of Obama’s performance. An identical percentage of independents criticized the Republican leaders for how they handled the negotiations.

Obama today

The president’s only public event Tuesday is a speech as part of initiative to support military families that is being run by First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, the vice president’s wife.

By Perry Bacon Jr.  |  06:30 AM ET, 04/12/2011

 
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